A former commander of Russian forces in Ukraine has likely returned to the war-torn country as “intense tensions” develop among senior Russian military figures, according to a new assessment.
General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky, who served as commander of Russia’s VDV, the airborne force branch of the Russian military, was removed from Moscow’s operations in Ukraine in January 2023, Western analysts noted at the ‘era.
Writing in an update on Sunday, the ministry said Teplinsky, who was decorated by the Kremlin, had “most likely regained a major role” in Ukraine. Teplinsky had held his previous position since June 2022.
Teplinsky’s ‘turbulent recent career’ indicates ‘intense factional tensions within the Russian General Staff over Russia’s military approach to Ukraine’, the UK government department said in its daily briefing. on Twitter.
At the time of his dismissal in January, Western analysts called it a “rift” within the Russian Defense Ministry.
The dismissal of Teplinksy as commander of the VDV in favor of Lieutenant General Oleg Makarevich highlighted the differences between those who supported the then new theater commander, General Valery Gerasimov, and parts of the influential community. Russian milbloggers, the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Jan. 21. .
The move showed “continued divisions” as Gerasimov sought to “impose his personal authority over the countryside” in Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense added on January 24.
In Sunday’s update, the British ministry described Teplinsky as “one of the few Russian generals widely respected at the grassroots.”
The newly reinstated commander will likely oversee more than VDV units, he continued, although he is expected to uphold the “traditional role of airborne troops as an elite force”.
Earlier in April, Ukraine’s military said Russia had sent elite troops, including airborne forces, to support mercenary Wagner Group fighters and regular troops fighting in Bakhmut. The eastern city of Donetsk has seen some of the fiercest clashes since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, claiming many casualties on both sides.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that airborne troop units blocked Ukrainian forces and supported the actions of assault detachments to capture the city.
Bakhmut remains an “epicenter of hostilities”, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said on Sunday, adding that fighters in Kiev had repelled Russian attacks in the past 24 hours.
VDV forces received TOS-1A thermobaric rocket launchers for the “first time in their history”, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier in April. Airborne forces likely used them around the town of Kremina in Lugansk, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.