Rumors of Gerasimov injured: How close have Ukrainian troops gotten to Putin’s most important man? – Policy

It was an unusual visit. The news that General Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov reportedly visited the Eastern Front near Izyum last Saturday, and it was not only because of his high rank that he was reported in the international media.

Gerasimov, who is Russia’s third-highest-ranking serviceman after President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, was injured during his visit to the eastern region, sources said. Rumors of his death even circulated for some time. However, the USA, which still has very good information from its secret services, could not confirm the information. Neither does the Ukrainian side.

Sergey Shoigu (r), Minister of Defense of Russia, and Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/dpa

Nevertheless, from the perspective of observers, it is remarkable that the 66-year-old traveled so close to the front. The current progress of the Russian military provides a possible explanation: the troops are making little progress in their eastern offensive in the Donbass and, according to American estimates, are lagging behind.

In a recent assessment, the UK Ministry of Defense – citing its own intelligence service – speaks of strategic errors and shortcomings in implementation that would have meant that the Russians could not have converted their combat force into a decisive advantage. There are also reports of weakened morale and crumbling discipline within the various units.

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