A high-profile Russian general in command of forces in occupied southern Ukraine said he was dismissed from his post after accusing the defense minister of betraying Russian soldiers by not providing sufficient support.
Gen. Ivan Popov was the commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army, which has been involved in heavy fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region. He is one of the most senior officers involved in the Russian campaign in Ukraine.
The dismissal of such a senior officer amid an open dispute over the conduct of the Russian campaign is unprecedented, according to analysts.
Here are other headlines you should know:
- Kyiv attacks: One person was killed and two others were injured in the Ukrainian capital early Thursday after air defenses intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles, local officials said. It marks the third successive night of Russian airstrikes on the Kyiv region.
- On the ground: Ukrainian forces are making further advances in the Bakhmut area and rebuffed Russian assaults elsewhere in the Donetsk region, according to officials. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukraine's forces successfully held back the Russian offensive in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Avdiivka and Marinka directions — all areas of the front lines where the Russians have made repeated attempts to break through Ukrainian defenses.
- General killed: A popular Russian state television program appeared to confirm the death of a Russian general in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials had claimed that Oleg Tsokov, the deputy commander of the Southern Military District, was among a number of Russians killed in a Ukrainian missile strike Tuesday. The attack was targeted on a Russian headquarters in the occupied city of Berdyansk, Ukrainian officials said. Independent analysts and CNN’s own tally indicate that Russia has lost about 10 generals in combat since the invasion began.
- NATO summit takeaways: US President Joe Biden and G7 leaders unveiled a substantial show of support for Ukraine at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, offering a joint declaration of support for Kyiv aimed at bolstering the war-torn country’s military capability. However, there was still no invitation for Ukraine to join the alliance. In his nightly address after the summit, President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed optimism about Ukraine’s path to becoming a member of NATO.
- Moscow's take: The Russian foreign ministry, for its part, said the NATO summit demonstrated that the alliance has "finally returned to the Cold War schemes." President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would "be glad to act as a mediator" between Russia and Ukraine if the two countries agreed to such a proposition.
- Military assistance: Estonia's prime minister defended her support for the US' decision to provide Ukraine with controversial cluster bombs. And UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Kyiv's allies "want to see gratitude” from Ukraine for their support while recalling how he told Ukrainian officials during a visit to Kyiv in June 2022 that the UK was not “Amazon” when he was given a list of weapons demands. Meanwhile, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the US not to grow weary of Ukraine’s grinding battle against Russia.