Russian defense minister pays rare visit to forces deployed in Ukraine

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu paid a rare to Russia’s forces deployed in Ukraine, the country’s defense ministry said on Saturday.

In a statement published on Telegram, the ministry said: “The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, inspected the forward command post of one of the formations of the Eastern Military District in the South Donetsk direction.”

In video published by the ministry, Shoigu is seen awarding medals to Russian military personnel and touring a ruined town with the Eastern Military District’s commander, Colonel-General Rustam Muradov.

Russia’s top military chiefs have visited the front line in Ukraine only sparingly since Russia invaded the country in what it calls a “special military operation” a year ago.

Shoigu, who has served as defense minister since 2012, has come under harsh criticism of his performance during the war from pro-war advocates, with Wagner Group mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin last month accusing him and others of “treason.”

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