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Putin allies dropping like flies: 'Unwell' Russian defence minister vanishes from public




Sergei Shoigu, a popular and usually high-profile Russian minister, was last seen on March 11 when he held talks with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar. His unusual absence from the public eye has prompted reports he might be “unwell”, with Agentstvo, a respected Russian investigative website, quoting an unnamed source from Mr Shoigu’s inner circle saying he had “heart problems”.

On the same day of his meeting with Mr Akar, the defence minister visited a military hospital in Moscow to present medals to injured soldiers.

A week later, on March 18, state television reported the 66-year-old had again visited servicemen in hospital. The video that accompanied the report, however, was a week old.

The former emergency services chief is a native of Tuva, in eastern Siberia.

He and Putin have often gone on hiking trips together, and the two celebrated the Russian president’s 67th birthday in the Siberian wilderness.

Neither the defence ministry nor the Kremlin have commented on Mr Shoigu’s lack of public appearances.

READ MORE: Putin ally issues chilling nuclear warning in threat to NATO

Agentstvo also noted Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s National Guard, has not been seen in public since roughly the same date as Mr Shoigu, while General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russia’s general staff, was also last seen on March 11.

On Wednesday, NATO estimated 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the four weeks of war.

For comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 soldiers over 10 years in Afghanistan.

According to a senior NATO military official speaking on condition of anonymity, the figures are based on information from Ukrainian authorities, data released by the Kremlin and intelligence collected from open sources.

As per Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces, Russia has also lost 530 tanks, 1,597 armoured vehicles, 108 planes, 124 helicopters and 50 drones.

Moscow rarely updates the figures of its military losses. The last time it did so, was on March 2, when it said 498 servicemen had been killed in Ukraine.

But a line in an article about the war in pro-Kremlin paper Komsomolskaya Pravda on March 21 read: “According to Russian defence ministry data … 9,861 Russian soldiers had been killed in action and another 16,153 had been wounded.”

The publication shortly after deleted the line and claimed its site had been hacked.

It said in a statement on its website: “Access to the administrative interface was hacked on the Komsomolskaya Pravda website and a fake was made in this publication about the situation around the special operation in Ukraine.

“The false information was immediately deleted.”

As invasion goes awry, what will Russia do next? [ANALYSIS]
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While it is unclear how Komsomolskaya Pravda could have gained access to those figures — nor if they are true — the numbers suggest, once again, Russian troops are suffering significant losses.

President Putin publicly condemned remarks on the death toll among his military.

He said in a speech last week: “The collective West is trying to divide our society.”

By “speculating on military losses”, he added, nations are trying to “provoke a civil rebellion in Russia”.

The most eager agent in such a rebellion, Moscow said, is the UK.

On Thursday, March 24, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considered “the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian”.

The RIA news agency quoted Ms Peskov as saying: “It will lead to a foreign policy dead end.”

The remarks came as the Prime Minister joins a NATO summit and G7 meeting in Brussels.

Ahead of his talks with world leaders, he said Putin “has already crossed the red line into barbarism” and urged allies to “step up” and “tighten the economic vice” around the dictator.

Mr Johnson confirmed the UK will double the number of missiles it sends to Ukraine, promising 6,000 more units of anti-tank and high-explosive weaponry as well as a raft of new sanctions on Russia.



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Read more: Ryan Garcia and Who is Ryan Garcia Net Worth


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'This is huge' Swedish Air Force jet deployed over Belarus border in threat to Putin




The Scandinavian country is not a member of NATO, but could be ready to trade in its neutral status in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of Stockholm’s decision to send a jet was revealed by twitter user Jamming.

They wrote: “Swedish Air Force Korpen active over Poland border area with Belarus.

“Sweden part of surveillance of Belarus and Ukraine!!!

“This is a huge political statement! Update on SwAF Korpen.”


The Gulfstream IV aircraft was tracked taking off from Linking airport and then flying towards the city of Grodno in western Belarus.

It was flying at an altitude of just under 12,000 metres at a speed of 836 kilometres per hour.

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, it is an “enhanced opportunity partner” of the military alliance.

The government also signed a statement in 2018 pledging to strengthen its defence cooperation.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties earlier this month for the country to join NATO.

She argued that such a move would further destabilise Europe.

Her statement came in the wake of threats from Moscow that NATO membership would bring “serious military-political consequences” for Sweden.

However, there is growing public support among Swedes for their country to join the transatlantic military alliance.

A poll conducted in late February by broadcaster SVT found that 41 percent of the public supported NATO membership, while thirty-five percent were against.

It was the first time an opinion study in Sweden had found more people in favour of the country joining NATO than were against it.



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Putin humiliated: Russia tries and fails to capture defiant Ukraine village for tenth time




Russia has tried and failed to capture the village of the Chornobaevka ten times, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Aleksey Arestovich. Videos shared by Ukrainian officials online showed the “tenth defeat of the Russian invaders in Chornobaevka”. The continued failures to capture the village comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that his country’s forces had “dealt powerful blows” to the Russian military.

Mr Arestovich told a press conference that Russian troops had tried to take Chornobaevka for the tenth time, but the assault again ended in failure.

Following this, the head of the nearby Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Vitaly Kim published a video showing “the defeat” as explosions erupt on the outskirts of the village.

The resolute village has become famous in Ukraine for its defence, as President Zelensky commended Chornobaivka last weekend for fending off six invasions at the time.

He said: “Ukrainian Chornobaivka will go down in war history. This is a place where the Russian military and their commanders have shown themselves for who they truly are – incompetent, capable of simply handing over their people for slaughter.

“Our military has annihilated the invaders near Chornobaivka six times.

“Six times, yet they keep coming back.”

JUST IN: Putin on brink of major RETREAT in Kyiv

Online users ridiculed the latest Russian failures and hailed the Ukrainian defiance, with one Reddit user remarking: “At some point, I think every military intelligence outfit looking at this must be wondering how bad the rot is in the Russian military.”

One user visavillem added: “So this is the 10th time. Are Russians trying to bait Ukrainians to waste ammo with some obsolete/broken equipment, or are they really so stupid, that they keep stepping on the same rake again and again?”

Another user on Reddit adfgqert posted: “The Ukrainian people have resolve and determination that is beyond what I think is normal.

“Beyond inspirational and they bring fighting for what they believe in to a new level for me.” 

This comes amid ongoing setbacks for Russian military forces in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn most of its helicopters from a strategic airport in Kherson, in southern Ukraine, according to satellite images.

Kherson has also been the site of several local protests against the occupying Russian soldiers.

The official said: “We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before.

“That would make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odesa.

“That would be a significant development, no question about that, in terms of the southern part of the war.” 


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