May 12, 2024 - World

Putin to replace longtime Russian defense minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, in February. Photo: Contributor/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to replace longtime ally Sergei Shoigu as defense minister with an economist, the Kremlin announced Sunday.

Why it matters: In the biggest security overhaul since Putin's forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Shoigu will be appointed head of Russia's Security Council after serving since 2012 as defense minister.

The big picture: Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, whose background is in economics, will replace Shoigu, according to a post on the Russian Parliament's Telegram channel.

  • Russian forces have intensified attacks on Ukraine in recent weeks and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted in a briefing that Russia's military spending was becoming similar to that of the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, per state media.
  • "The defense ministry must be absolutely open to innovation, to the introduction of all advanced ideas, to the creation of conditions for economic competitiveness," Peskov said. "The battlefield is won by whoever is more open to innovation."

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