Putin Fires Lieutenant General Sukhrab Akhmedov, Who Lined Up Troops Ahead Of Deadly HIMARS Strike

Lieutenant General Sukhrab Akhmedov.

Russian army general who was blamed for a costly HIMARS strike on troops in occupied Ukraine last year has been removed from his post, according to pro-war Russian Telegram channels.

Lieutenant General Sukhrab Akhmedov was dismissed as commander of the Russian 20th Combined Arms Army (CAA), per reports from prominent Russian milbloggers. The formation is currently engaged in Russia’s grinding offensive towards the eastern city of Lyman on the Donetsk front.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said it was “is unable to confirm Akhmedov’s removal, but claims of his removal are notable as this would be the first removal of an officer actively commanding Russian forces in Ukraine as a part of the most recent round of dismissals.”

The ISW noted that Akhmedov has been involved in multiple battlefield setbacks since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022, including the 20th CAA’s recent inability to make significant progress on the Kharkiv-Luhansk axis in Russia’s ongoing offensive.

The commander was also at the center of a Ukrainian HIMARS—M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System—strike on Russian forces in the occupied Ukrainian city of Kreminna, Luhansk, in June 2023.

The strike reportedly killed or wounded hundreds of Russian soldiers, who had been assembled to hear Akhmedov speak. “For two hours, people stood in a crowd in one place and waited for the division commander to give his motivating speech,” prominent milblogger Rybar wrote at the time.

Another well-known milblogger—posting on the Two Majors channel—said of the incident: “You can’t stand in a column for two hours in one place! What are you doing, father commanders, you people in charge!…We are at war with our own stupidity and sloppiness, coated with fancy reports from above.”

Before that, Akhmedov was responsible for what the ISW described as “attritional Russian assaults near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast in winter 2022–2023 when he commanded the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade.”

Then, as a deputy to Colonel General Rustam Muradov, Akhmedov was specifically mentioned by dissenting troops appealing for assistance.

“Once again we were thrown into an incomprehensible battle by General Muradov and his brother-in-law, his countryman Akhmedov, so that Muradov could earn bonuses to make him look good in the eyes of [Russia’s Chief of the General Staff Valery] Gerasimov,” men of the 155th Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet Marines wrote in a letter to the governor of Primorsky Krai.

Muradov was removed from his command soon after the failed Vuhledar assault. The ISW assessed that then-Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered Muradov to take Vuhledar “at any cost” to ease mounting criticism of the Russian military’s conduct in Ukraine.

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