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ISW: More Russian military leaders face corruption charges, dismissals

Russia’s crackdown on defense officials is expanding to officers commanding forces in Ukraine, according to a report.
Russia open to "truly serious" Ukraine peace proposals, Foreign Ministry says
The Kremlin in Moscow. Photo: Depositphotos
ISW: More Russian military leaders face corruption charges, dismissals

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 23 that the Kremlin is pursuing an effort to remove senior Russian defense officials and has likely expanded this effort to senior officers commanding Russian combat operations in Ukraine.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced on 23 May the arrests of Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, the Russian Deputy Chief of the General Staff and Head of its Main Communications Directorate, and Vladimir Verteletsky, the Head of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Department for State Procurement.

According to the ISW, “Shamarin is accused of accepting a bribe of at least 36 million rubles (about $392,000), and two defendants in the Russian telecommunications industry have agreed to testify against him.”

The report notes that five senior Russian MoD officials and former military commanders have been arrested on corruption charges since the arrest of Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on 24 April. A Russian insider source previously claimed that six more MoD officials plan to resign following former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s removal from the MoD.

ISW assesses that “The Kremlin is likely using the guise of corruption charges as an excuse to hide the real reasons for ousting specific individuals from the MoD who have fallen from favor.”

Other key takeaways from the report:

  • Russian border guards removed buoys in Estonian waters of the Narva River, which demarcates the Estonian-Russian international border. This is likely to set conditions that further question maritime borders and test NATO’s resolve.
  • Select US officials are reportedly pressing for a reconsideration of the White House’s current policy prohibiting Ukraine from using US-provided weapons to strike within Russia.
  • Ukrainian forces advanced near Lukyantsi and Kreminna, and Russian forces advanced near Berestove, Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, Donetsk City, and Velyka Novosilka.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) proposed applying regular military punishments to volunteers, likely as part of the MoD’s continued formalization efforts.

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