A Russian commander who was heavily criticized last year for his poor performance during the invasion of Ukraine has reportedly been appointed chief of staff of Russia's ground forces.
According to Russian state media – though not yet confirmed by the Kremlin – Colonel-General Alexander Lapin will take on the post despite his role in abandoning the city of Lyman - the key one in terms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), recapturing Luhansk Region - in October of last year.
Until the end of October 2022, Lapin held the post of commander of the "Centre" group of troops which occupied the city.
Earlier in the war, Lapin commanded a group that took part in the battles for Lysychansk and on July 4 he was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his efforts.
But after abandoning Lyman, Lapin was subjected to unprecedented criticism from the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Kadyrov devoted several Telegram posts to Lapin, calling him "incompetent" and accusing him of commanding a group while being far from the front himself.
Kadyrov also wrote that Lapin was "being covered up by leaders at the General Staff."
"I'm asking myself questions: is anyone interested in how Lapin got a star for taking Lysychansk, which he wasn't even in? Is anyone interested in how he managed to abandon Chervony Lyman? Is anyone interested in how he managed to open a gap for the enemy?" Kadyrov wrote in his Telegram channel.
He also said that Lapin did not provide the necessary funds to mobilized fighters from Luhansk Region and allegedly "holed up" in Luhansk.
"It's not a shame that Lapin is incompetent. The shame is that the leaders in the General Staff cover for him. If I had my way, I would deprive Lapin of his awards and send him to the front line with a machine gun in his hands to wash away his shame with blood", Kadyrov added.
However, not all "patriotic" media agreed with Kadyrov's statements.
So, the Telegram channel "Rybar" (1.1 million subscribers), listing the merits and failures of General Lapin, said that he "definitely does not stand out as the worst" and neither is he responsible for the failure in Lyman.
Soon after, Lapin was reportedly sent on leave.
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