Putin’s morale weakens as military commander disappears from battlefield

General Valery Gerasimov hasn’t been seen for two weeks (Image: Getty)

Express UK

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S top military commander has not been seen for two weeks, US officials have claimed.

Accused war criminal General Aleksandr Dvornikov has been leading Putin’s army since April. However, the top military chief remains missing amid growing speculation he’s been ousted by the Russian leader.

General Dvornikov, who is an accused war criminal believed to have helped Syria’s president Assad gas his own people, was appointed by Putin after his troops were forced to abandon a failed assault on Kyiv.

The move was considered by experts to be an acknowledgement that his bloody war was failing.

However, the new commander has not been seen for a fortnight, leading officials to question whether he has been purged by Putin along with other commanders.

Western officials claim Admiral Igor Osipov, commander of the Black Sea fleet, and Lieutenant-General Sergei Kisel, leader of the 1st Guards Tank Army, were previously sacked over battlefield failings.

General Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, is also believed to be missing, with Ukraine claiming he has been suspended while Putin decides his fate.

It comes after US officers said Russia is repeating the same mistakes that saw troops’ plan to capture Kyiv fail causing them to turn their focus to Donbas.

According to the officials, Russia’s military equipment is being “worn down” by the response from Ukraine in Donbas.

Despite capturing some territory in the region, the US claims the military’s strength has reduced by around 20 percent.

Meanwhile, Putin’s troops are believed to be dying at a rate of 100 people per day.

Russian pilots continue to refuse to enter Ukrainian airspace over fears of being shot down by Ukrainian forces.

UK intelligence said there has been evidence Kremlin members close to the leader have tried to convince him the invasion has been a disaster.

However, Putin is said to believe losses of over 30,000 troops is a “price worth paying”.

Officials said the now missing Dvornikov did successfully coordinate the troops attacks on land and air more efficiently.

But, according to experts, he was unable to fix “fundamental flaws” in how the Russian Army functions.

A report written by a top UK analyst for Russia said: “The Russians are now achieving what successes they have mostly by means of a slogging match with repeated, very costly, infantry attacks reminiscent of 1945 not 2022.

“The gross failures of the campaign Putin has so far been able to hide quite well from the Russian public, or to blame on various officials, who have been arrested and replaced.

“‘The Russian population until recently bought Putin’s disinformation. We have seen an attempt within the Kremlin to get a message across to Putin and his closest team that things are going wrong, perhaps even catastrophically wrong.”

Ukraine estimates Russia has now lost 30,000 troops, 207 planes and 174 helicopters in the war.