Russia replaces top general, pursues breakaway Ukraine polls

Ukraine president and Vladimir Putin
Ukraine president and Vladimir Putin

Moscow replaced its top logistical general on Saturday after a string of failures. At the same time, Kremlin-controlled parts of eastern and southern Ukraine voted for a second day on whether to join Russia.

The change of guard is happening while Russia is in the middle of a major mobilization campaign. The invasion of Ukraine caused a lot of logistical problems, and Kyiv is now regaining more territory.

Russia’s invasion and the quick victories won by the Ukrainian army in a quick counteroffensive have shown that Moscow’s army has a lot of problems with logistics. Some observers have called logistics the weak link in Moscow’s army.

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The 60-year-old Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev will succeed Army General Dmitry Bulgakov as deputy minister of defense, according to the defense ministry.

Russia’s partial mobilization, which was announced on Wednesday, is likely to be one of his first major logistical challenges, since hundreds of thousands of reservists need to be equipped and trained before they can be sent into battle.

Voting started on Friday to decide if Russia should take over four parts of Ukraine. This would make the stakes much higher seven months after Moscow’s troops invaded.

US Vice President Joe Biden has described the referendums as a “sham” and a “false pretext to try to conquer regions of Ukraine by force in a flagrant violation of international law.”

Since the battle began in February, even Beijing, Moscow’s closest ally, has responded.

On Friday at the UN General Assembly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba that “all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity must be maintained.”

In Russian-controlled Donetsk and Lugansk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south, polling is taking place.

Votes are collected door-to-door for four days by election officials. On Tuesday, polling locations will reopen for citizens to cast their votes. Results are anticipated as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday night.

Things are ultimately progressing toward the restoration of the Soviet Union. The referendum is a step in this direction, 59-year-old military official Leonid told AFP.

If Russia took over the four territories, any military action there would be seen as an attack on Russia. This would make the conflict much worse.

The Ukrainian military asserted that they were reclaiming territory from Moscow-backed separatists in the same regions that Russia seeks to absorb.

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