Putin fires General Rustam Muradov responsible for losing 5,000 servicemen in Donetsk region 

General Rustam Muradov - the Russian commander who presided over a pair of hapless attacks in eastern Ukraine that led thousands of men to slaughter - has been dismissed from his post.

A Russian commander who presided over attacks in Ukraine that led thousands of men to slaughter has been dismissed from his post, Western officials have claimed.

General Rustam Muradov had led Russia’s Eastern Group of Forces (EGF) for almost a year, having taken up the role after his predecessor’s attempt to assault Kyiv in the first weeks of the war.

Muradov, a close ally of Russia’s military chief Valery Gerasimov, earlier this year launched an attack on the mining town of Vuhledar in the eastern Donetsk region.

His tactic, a frontal assault in broad daylight, ended in utter disaster.

Shocking aerial footage taken by Ukrainian drones showed corpses and the twisted wreckage of vehicles littering fields around the town.

Survivors claim one marine brigade of 5,000 men wiped out, and at least 130 armoured vehicles, including 36 tanks, were destroyed.

Muradov was also involved in planning a similarly doomed attack on the village of Pavlivka, in which hundreds of Putin’s troops were reportedly gunned down. 

Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said his departure was the most senior military dismissal of 2023 so far – but warned more are likely as Moscow fails to achieve its objectives in eastern Ukraine.

Shocking aerial footage taken by Ukrainian drones showed corpses and the twisted wreckage of vehicles littering fields around the town.

Video evidence shows Russia how suffered catastrophic military losses after its armoured vehicles were ambushed in Vuhledar

Former Russian intelligence commander Igor ‘Strelkov’ Girkin posted: ‘The losses turned out to be one-sided, the Ukrainians shot the attackers “like in a shooting gallery”. Our fighters could not inflict counter losses on them…’

‘The Russian MoD has highly likely dismissed Colonel-General Rustam Muradov as commander of the Eastern Group of Forces (EGF) in Ukraine,’ an intelligence update read.

‘The EGF under Muradov has suffered exceptionally heavy casualties in recent months as its poorly conceived assaults repeatedly failed to capture the Donetsk Oblast town of Vuhledar.’

Muradov’s dismissal will be welcomed by hordes of Russian military commentators, bloggers and media personalities, who in the days after the Vuhledar massacre in February called for public show trials to punish the commanders and generals behind the losses.

‘Some of them are complete cretins – all the mistakes that were made before were repeated,’ said Igor ‘Strelkov’ Girkin, a Russian former intelligence officer who helped stage the pro-Moscow 2014 insurgencies in Donetsk and Crimea.

Girkin complained that Russian soldiers – including many of their best marines, special forces soldiers and tank crews – were mown down ‘like turkeys in a shooting range’ as Ukrainians held higher positions ‘without much difficulty’.

One particular Russian unit – the Pacific Fleet’s 155th Marine Brigade – lost hundreds of men in Muradov’s poorly conceived attack on Pavlivka in late 2022.

Mutinous survivors then wrote a letter to the regional governor blaming Muradov for their alarming casualties and asking for him to be replaced, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Just months later, the 155th brigade was sent to Vuhledar by Muradov, and was almost completely destroyed.

‘The 155th brigade already had to be restaffed three times,’ said Colonel Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, a Ukrainian military spokesman.

Putin has been quick to dismiss multiple high-ranking military officials who fail to achieve his wild objectives in Ukraine

The mining town of Vuhledar, home to 14,000 people before the war and sitting on high ground, was fortified with artillery after withstanding three months of attack.

Tom Cooper, a military historian who has studied the battle, describes Vuhledar as ‘a big, tall fortress in the middle of an empty, flat desert’.

Evgeny Nazarenko, spokesman for one of the defending Ukrainian units, said the Russian advances had been easily spotted from high-rise buildings as they crossed open fields towards the town built to serve a nearby coal mine.

‘We are at the top and they are at the bottom. They are perfectly visible,’ he said.

The advancing Russians were pulverised by artillery fire, drone bombs and landmines, after Muradov reportedly ordered tanks to proceed in single file due to a lack of demining equipment.

One Russian military source told The Moscow Times: ‘Muradov was suspended because he was a mad idiot who was able to… order soldiers to go to certain death. A lot of people complained about him.’

The removal of top Russian commanders from their posts is hardly novel.

The current head of Russia’s army, Valery Gerasimov, replaced ‘General Armageddon’ Sergei Surovikin in January — just three months after Surovikin himself ascended to the position.

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