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Ukraine: Shoigu reappears after 12 days, ‘he had a heart attack’

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Moscow changes strategy and aims for Donbass (ANSA)

After a 12-day absence that had given rise to all sorts of speculations about his fate, Russian Defense Minister Serghei Shoigu reappeared in images broadcast on television. But this is still not enough to dispel all doubts, while the Ukrainian government speaks of a heart attack that has recently hit him. The mystery then remains around the Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, who has also disappeared from the public scene and has not yet returned to be seen.
Health problems precisely, expulsion for punishment given the unsuccessful course of the war in Ukraine, or even a move by Moscow to confuse the enemies, in the frantic search for any signal that indicates the emergence of rifts within the Putinian circle ? Each hypothesis seems legitimate in the analysis of those who strive, following the example of Soviet-era Kremlinologists, to predict Russia’s moves by penetrating her opaque system of power. An exercise that up to now, as then, does not give the desired results.
Shoigu appeared in military uniform in images released by the Ministry of Defense as he chaired a meeting devoted to the arms budget. No date is indicated in the video, but what suggests that this is a recording of the last few hours is the fact that the minister refers to a meeting he had at the Finance Department on Friday. Shoigu says that orders and deliveries are made according to schedule, “despite the difficulties of the moment” due to the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia for its military action in Ukraine. “The priorities are precision-guided long-range weapons, aviation hardware and maintaining the combat readiness of strategic nuclear forces,” the minister said.
On Thursday, the Kremlin announced Shoigu’s participation in a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and members of the National Security Council, denying any allegations about alleged punishments or health problems of the 66-year-old minister. “Shoigu – said the spokesman Dmitry Peskov – has a lot to do at the moment, there is a special military operation underway, and for him it is not the time for media activities”.
The picture described in a post on Facebook by Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko is different, according to whom Shoigu suffered a heart attack in mid-March. Agentstvo, an independent Russian news site, also previously quoted an anonymous source reporting the minister’s heart problems.
No news, however, has yet to be Valery Gerasimov, disappeared from radar since March 12. A very unusual situation for a chief of staff in the midst of a war, during which one would expect him to show his face to inform the Russians on the progress of operations. On March 24, the Pentagon said that Gerasimov and Shoigu had no longer responded to American attempts to contact them after the last interview, which took place on February 18, almost a week before the invasion.

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Source: Ansa

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