Putin launches army purge as he sends elite units to arrest officers

Putin is 'afraid his people will rise up' says Browder

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Vladimir Putin has reportedly launched a crackdown and purge of his military, as the fallout from recent battlefield losses gathers pace. The Russian President has seen his army suffer a series of humiliating setbacks in recent weeks and months. Ukrainian forces have succeeded in pushing Russian forces out of almost all of the Kharkiv region and are threatening to make further gains in the Donbas and Kherson province.

Kyiv’s military successes have increased tensions between Putin and his generals.

Earlier this month, it was reported that around 10 senior officers from the General Staff had written a letter to the Russian President.

They allegedly raised serious misgivings about their leader’s war goals and the ability of the army to fulfil them.

Now, it appears that the Russian president has decided to move decisively against his critics within the military establishment.

Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate claimed that Putin had sent Rosgvardia forces, including the “elite” Dzerzhinksy unit, to arrest the troublemakers over the weekend.

In a post on their Facebook page, they wrote: “Military arrests have begun in Moscow.

“In the Russian capital, a set of ‘measures’ directed against the military began.

“The city included units of the operational purpose division named after Dzerzhinsky – ‘elites’ of the Rosgvardía.

“They are moving to the centre together with police units.”

They added: “Numerous arrests, detentions and blocks of military are known.

“All military units on the perimeter of Moscow have been brought into increased combat readiness.”

Putin created the Rosgvardia in 2016 to ostensibly fight against terrorism and maintain public order.

It is a militarised force that is separate from the army and reports directly to the Russian President.

The Rosgvardia is headed by the President’s former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov and has been dubbed Putin’s “private army”.

The militia has been deployed mostly to put down peaceful anti-Putin protests in the country.

The Russian President made further changes to his military command on Saturday, as he looks to turn around his fortunes in Ukraine.

General Sergey Surovikin was appointed as overall commander of the Russian army in Ukraine.

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The veteran officer commanded Russian troops in Syria in 2017 but has a checkered history.

He ordered troops to open fire on pro-democracy protesters in the 1990s and has been accused of indiscriminate bombings in Syria, as well as corruption.

A former head of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Surovikin was installed in the summer as head of the southern military grouping, replacing General Alexander Dvornikov, who lasted just months in the position.

He is seen as having improved the effectiveness of Russian forces fighting in east Ukraine, where poor communication and cooperation has plagued the Russian invasion force.

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