Russia’s Shoigu ups public profile seeking control as Ukraine ramps up offensive: UK

Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu has recently been increasing his public visibility with the probable intention of trying to assert his control over strategic issues, at a time when Ukraine is intensifying its offensive operations, the UK ministry of defense said in a war intelligence update.

“Shoigu has provided at least two comments on Russia’s defensive operations, including making almost certainly seriously exaggerated claims about Ukrainian losses. This contrasts with other key periods in the war when he had disappeared from public appearances,” the British defense ministry said in its assessment.

In addition to the high public profile, the Russian defense chief also urged Russia’s defense industry to redouble its efforts, and castigated Western Military District officers for not dispatching reserve armored vehicles to the front quickly enough.

“Shoigu is likely acutely aware of the need to maintain a positive image in the face of increasingly unmasked criticism from some fellow Russians,” according to the UK evaluation.

Shoigu’s recent amplified presence in the limelight comes amid Ukrainian advances as part of its highly anticipated counter-offensive to reclaim territories currently under Russian control.

Kyiv announced on Monday that its forces have successfully “liberated” seven settlements in the eastern Donetsk and southern Tavriia regions during the past week of counter-offensive operations against Russia.

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