The five generals Putin cut loose on Monday were Maj. Gens. Vasily Kukushkin, Alexander Laas, Andrey Lipilin, Alexander Udovenko, and Yuri Instrankin, according to a Russian media. Police Col. Emil Musin was also among the top officials axed in what Russian media is calling a “standard employee reshuffle procedure,” citing a Kremlin decree.
Since Russia’s costly Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Putin has purged numerous high-ranking military officials. Some have vanished from public view for weeks at a time and others have reportedly been imprisoned for failures in Ukraine.
Most recently, Gen. Aleksandr Dvornikov, the so-called Butcher of Syria, has not been seen in two weeks. Dvornikov was chosen by Putin in April to oversee the war in Ukraine. His disappearance has led to speculation that he is no longer in command of the campaign. His absence from public view is reminiscent of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s weekslong disappearance in March following early failures in Ukraine.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said earlier this month that Russia has fired or suspended some senior commanders for poor performance in Ukraine, including the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, after the sinking of the flagship vessel Moskva, and the general in charge of the failed takeover of Kharkiv.
In March, during the early stages of Russia’s invasion, Putin reportedly lashed out at top Russian intelligence and military officials for failing to deliver a swift victory in Ukraine. The Russian president reportedly had two top FSB officials placed under house arrest for providing bad intelligence in the lead up to the invasion and eight generals fired for poor performance.