“A culture of concealment and scapegoating arguably prevails within the Russian military.” In its daily report on the situation in Ukraine dated this Thursday, May 19, the British Ministry of Defense notes that this prevailing culture among Russian senior officers has hindered the invasion of Russia.
Vladimir Putin’s top brass are ‘increasingly seeking to defer key decisions to their superiors’ to avoid being forced to take the blame for any mistakes, according to the ministry’s memo, which is based on intelligence information . Clearly, according to the same source, “distracted” Russian generals are focused on saving their own skins rather than winning. This behavior is not without consequences for the conduct of operations.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, in recent weeks Russia has dismissed several senior officers who did not give full satisfaction during the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Ministry intelligence says Russia fired Sergei Kisel, commander of the elite First Guards Tank Army, for failing to take possession of Kharkiv, while citing likely suspension of Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded the Russian Black Sea Fleet, following the sinking of the flagship “Moskva”.
The UK MoD confirms intelligence released by Ukraine last week. This information suggested that they were part of a group of purged generals, including General Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, who would have been suspended.
The British believe that General Valery Guerassimov “probably remains in office”, but that it is “unclear whether he retains the confidence of President Vladimir Putin”. Valery Gerasimov did not appear at the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9, as Admiral Igor Osipov was also absent that day.