Kiev, May 13 : A top Ukrainian adviser has claimed that Russia's top commander General Valery Gerasimov has been suspended, while a bunch of other officers have been sacked or arrested amid a rumoured purge of top brass.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a veteran of Ukrainian military intelligence and one of President Volodymyr Zelensky's inner circle, claimed that Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, has been suspended as President Vladimir Putin looks for senior commanders to blame over his blundering invasion of Kiev, reports the Daily Mail.
Arestovych, speaking to dissident Russian lawyer and politician Mark Feygin on YouTube, said: "According to preliminary information, Gerasimov has been de-facto suspended. They are deciding whether to give him time to fix things, or not.
"The commander of the first tank army of the western military district Lieutenant General Sergei Kisel has also been arrested and fired after the first tank army was defeated near Kharkiv." Two additional army commanders have been fired due to heavy battlefield losses, according to information released on a Telegram channel run by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, which also claimed the commander of the Black Sea fleet has been sacked and arrested and his vice admiral has been placed under investigation, the Daily Mail reported.
Arestovych stressed that his information is "preliminary", but it comes after Gerasimov failed to appear during Russia's Victory Day parade in Moscow on Monday which he was widely expected to attend.
It also comes after he was reportedly wounded by shrapnel in Ukraine when Putin sent him there in order to turn the war around.
Putin's army, once championed as the world's second-best, has been handed a series of humiliating battlefield defeats in just two months of fighting in Ukraine that has seen more than 10,000 troops killed, hundreds of tanks destroyed, its Black Sea flagship sunk and Russia's international standing trashed.
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text