NewsPutin meets with key ally to address military shortfalls, signaling shifts in Russian leadership

Putin meets with key ally to address military shortfalls, signaling shifts in Russian leadership

Putin wants to punish Shoigu?
Putin wants to punish Shoigu?
Images source: © Getty Images | Mikhail Svetlov

6:34 AM EDT, May 3, 2024

Vladimir Putin met with Alexei Dyumin, the governor of the Tula region and a figure associated with the Wagner Group. This encounter, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), might signal Putin's intention to curtail the influence of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. There is speculation that this move could be a form of reprimand for Shoigu's failure to meet the Kremlin's military goals.
During their meeting at the presidential residence near Moscow, Dyumin briefed Putin on the Tula region’s contributions to Russia's military efforts in Ukraine.
Dyumin highlighted three main areas of focus: providing support and housing for military personnel involved in Ukraine, boosting Russia's defense and industrial capabilities, and enhancing the healthcare system in the Tula region.
Moreover, Dyumin informed Putin of the Tula region's collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Defense. This cooperation aims to fully supply Russian military units with the necessary equipment as specified by local commanders. He proudly noted that the Tula region has launched one of the first training centers for drone operators, in partnership with the Ministry of Defense.
This presentation seemed to be Dyumin's attempt to restore his standing with Putin following the fallout from Yevgeny Prigozhin's rebellion in late June 2023.

Putin's Objective

There is speculation from Russian sources that Dyumin might be poised for a new role. This, combined with the arrest of Shoigu's deputy Ivanov and Dyumin's sudden reappearance, suggests Kremlin dissatisfaction with Shoigu’s performance.
The ISW also interprets the Putin-Dyumin meeting as an indication that Putin could likely be behind Ivanov's arrest. Putin frequently rotates officials and military leaders, hoping to spur different factions within the government to fulfill his objectives.

Shoigu's Directives

Sergei Shoigu has recently mandated an uptick in weapons production to hasten deliveries to the eastern front in Ukraine.

"To maintain the required pace of the offensive, it is necessary to increase the volume and quality of weapons and military equipment supplied to the troops, primarily weapons," Shoigu stated, in a communique from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Specifics regarding the plan to increase weapon production or the timeline for accelerated deliveries to the eastern front in Ukraine remain undisclosed. This push for enhanced weapon production aligns with an anticipated Russian offensive, which, according to Kyiv, could start by the end of May or early June.
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