Russia Aims Victory in Ukraine with Minimal Losses: New Defence Chief

Tue May 14 2024
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MOSCOW: Russia’s incoming Defence Minister Andrei Belousov on Tuesday said that Moscow’s priority was to secure victory on the battlefield against Ukraine while minimising human losses.

Belousov’s remarks came during a session of Russian lawmakers, following President Vladimir Putin’s nomination of the economist to replace Sergei Shoigu as the country’s defence chief. The unexpected change in leadership comes more than two years into the conflict, which Russia had initially anticipated to be swiftly resolved.

“The key task, of course, remains achieving victory and ensuring that the military-political goals of the special military operation, set by the president, are achieved. In this respect, I want to especially emphasize: with minimal human losses,” Belousov stated.

Despite Russia’s reluctance to disclose casualty figures, independent analyses and assessments by Western intelligence services suggest that Russian losses in the conflict with Ukraine are substantial, potentially reaching tens of thousands.

Belousov’s appointment is expected to be confirmed by Russia’s parliament later on Tuesday. Notably, he emphasized that Moscow was not considering a new wave of mobilization or emergency measures to bolster troop numbers.

Meanwhile, in another significant development, President Putin appointed his close ally Nikolai Patrushev to oversee shipbuilding, seemingly demoting him from his previous role as Security Council secretary. Patrushev, known for his hawkish stance against the West, will maintain direct contact with Putin in his new position within the presidential administration.

Outgoing Defence Chief Shoigu is set to replace Patrushev at the Security Council, marking a reshuffling of key positions within the Russian government amidst ongoing military operations in Ukraine.

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