A top Russian commander has been axed in a further sign of divisions at the top of the country’s military, according to British intelligence.
General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky was one of Moscow’s key operational commanders in Ukraine.
However, the UK’s Ministry of Defence say he has “likely been dismissed” as a result of a power struggle among the Russian top brass.
In their latest intelligence update, the MoD said: “Teplinsky was the officer on the ground in charge of Russia’s relatively successful withdrawal from west of the Dnipro in November 2022, and he has received praise in Russia as a capable and pragmatic commander.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 24 January 2023
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/IWggDzuVSj
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/H5vdlajbd0
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) January 24, 2023
The update said it was “unclear ” whether Teplinsky is holding on to his other role as head of Russia’s air force, the VDV.
The MoD added: “Teplinsky’s dismissal is likely another symptom of continued divisions within the senior hierarchy of Russia’s operation as General Valery Gerasimov attempts to impose his personal authority on the campaign.”
At the time, the MoD said it was “a clear acknowledgement that the campaign is falling short of Russia’s strategic goals”.
It emerged yesterday that Gerasimov has faced pushback over his attempt to clamp down on “non-standard haircuts” among his troops.
This is just the latest sign that all is not well within the Russian army ranks.
Reports of low morale, poorly equipped soldiers and a distinct lack of training for the newly recruited troops from Putin’s partial mobilisation in the autumn have been circulating for months.
According to previous claims from the MoD, Russia is even using “poorly-training convicts” to bolster its armed forces.
And by February 24, the war – which the Kremlin expected to last just a matter of days – will have stretched out to a year, with just 15% of Ukrainian land under Russian control.