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Putin sacks Sergei Shoigu as defense minister, appoints him as leader of security council

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the recent changes in Russia's defense leadership, with President Vladimir Putin proposing to replace Sergei Shoigu as defense minister and appointing him as secretary of Russia's national security council. The article also covers the ongoing war in Ukraine, with a renewed Russian ground offensive in the northeast targeting towns and villages, forcing thousands of civilians to flee. The article highlights the intense battles in the Kharkiv region, particularly in the town of Vovchansk, and the tactics used by Russian forces.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Recent Changes in Russia's Defense Leadership

1. What changes have been proposed in Russia's defense leadership?

  • President Vladimir Putin proposed replacing Sergei Shoigu as defense minister and appointing him as secretary of Russia's national security council.
  • The reshuffle comes as Putin starts his fifth presidential term and as the war in Ukraine drags on for the third year.

2. What is the context of these changes?

  • The announcement came as thousands more civilians have fled Russia's renewed ground offensive in Ukraine's northeast.
  • The intense battles have forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw in the Kharkiv region, capitulating more land to Russian forces across less defended settlements.

[02] Russia's Renewed Ground Offensive in Ukraine's Northeast

1. What is the focus of Russia's renewed ground offensive in Ukraine's northeast?

  • The offensive has targeted towns and villages with a barrage of artillery and mortar shelling, forcing thousands of civilians to flee.
  • The town of Vovchansk, among the largest in the northeast with a prewar population of 17,000, has emerged as a focal point in the battle.

2. What tactics are Russian forces using in this offensive?

  • Russian forces are using the tactic of launching a disproportionate amount of fire and infantry assaults to exhaust Ukrainian troops and firepower.
  • In Vovchansk, the Russian tactics mirror those used in the battles for Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, with heavy aerial attacks accompanied by droves of infantry assaults.

3. What are the outcomes of the Russian offensive so far?

  • Russian forces have captured several villages along the border of Ukraine's Kharkiv region, likely due to the dynamic fighting and constant heavy shelling, which has eased their advance.
  • However, Ukraine's leadership has not confirmed Moscow's gains, and a Ukrainian unit has reported being forced to retreat from some areas.

4. What is the significance of the Russian offensive in the northeast?

  • The offensive is designed to exploit ammunition shortages before promised Western supplies can reach the front line.
  • By intensifying battles in the northeast, Russian forces threaten to pin down Ukrainian forces in the region, while carrying out intense battles farther south where Moscow is also gaining ground.
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