Key Russian invasion commander likely dismissed from post -UK intel

Mikhail Teplinsky's impending dismissal could be related to a dispute.

 (R-L) Russia's State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, who was nominated as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, walk before a session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow Russia May 8, 2018. (photo credit: Sputnik/Alexander Astafyev/Pool via REUTERS)
(R-L) Russia's State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, who was nominated as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister, walk before a session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow Russia May 8, 2018.
(photo credit: Sputnik/Alexander Astafyev/Pool via REUTERS)

One of Russia's key operational commanders in Ukraine has likely been dismissed from this role, the United Kingdom's Defense Ministry said in a Tuesday morning intelligence update.

General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky, head of Russia's airborne infantry (VDV), was the officer who oversaw the Kremlin's withdrawal to the east bank of the Dnieper River in November.

The UK Defense Ministry said it was unclear if Teplinsky, retained command of Russia's airborne forces or was also removed from this post, and noted that his dismissal could be a result over dispute of the VDV unit's use. The airborne were being deployed to hold territory and other roles usually assigned to mechanized infantry.

The UK also attributed the uncertain dismissal to an ongoing attempt by General Valery Gerasimov to exert authority over military operations.

Gerasimov was appointed by the Russian leadership to lead the Ukraine War effort in January, almost a year after the war began on February 24.

 UKRAINIAN SERVICE members take part in a military exercise this week near the border with Belarus, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine. (credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters) UKRAINIAN SERVICE members take part in a military exercise this week near the border with Belarus, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine. (credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

The general has been criticized by Russian nationalist bloggers for his field conduct during the operation, as well as by Wagner PMC's Yevgeny Prigozhin and Republic of Chechnya head Razman Kadyrov over credit for battlefield successes, said Reuters.

General Armageddon

The Russian military effort has seen several dramatic dismissals and appointments as the war has progressed.  Army General Sergei Surovikin, nicknamed "General Armageddon" was appointed three months ago as the previous theater commander.

In March, head of the Fifth Service of the FSB intelligence service Colonel-General Sergei Beseda and his deputy were placed under house arrest, Reuters reported, possibly over their intelligence preparation of what became a difficult invasion.