Russia Fired Commanders Amid Failure to Recapture Kherson Ground: Report

Two Russian commanders have been dismissed for failing to recapture southern parts of Ukraine that were lost during Kyiv’s counteroffensive last summer, according to pro-Kremlin sources.

The commander of Russia’s 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA), which has been fighting near Krynky, in the southern Kherson Oblast, was fired along with the commander of the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment, which had been fighting near Robotyne in the Zaporizhia Oblast, according to Russian military bloggers.

The former was Lieutenant General Arkady Marzoev although the head of the latter unit was not named by the Telegram channel Pozivnoy in a post which was shared by other prominent milbloggers over the weekend.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

Ukrainian troops Kherson
Ukrainian marines train ahead of a rotation to the front lines near the town of Krynky in the Kherson region on March 14, 2024. Two Russian commanders have been fired for failing to recapture parts…

Gian Marco Benedetto/Getty Images

In its latest update, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said it could not confirm these reported firings which follow “failed” attempts by the 18th CAA to repel Ukrainian attacks and attempts to push Kyiv’s forces from the east (left) bank of the Kherson region, where they established a limited tactical bridgehead in November.

Neither unit regained all the territory that Ukrainian forces captured in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts during last summer’s offensive. The ISW said parts of the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment had suffered “significant degradation” during periodic counterattacks to retake territory around Robotyne since September 2023.

The Washington, D.C., think tank said that if the reports are true, Moscow is probably hoping new leadership will lead to territorial gains around Robotyne and Krynky, so it can claim it has undone the results of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

It comes as Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said that Russia has set itself the goal of capturing the town of Chasiv Yar, just west of the Russian-occupied city of Bakhmut, by May 9, in time for Victory Day, which marks the role the Soviet Union played in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.

He said that Russian troops were trying to break through west of Bakhmut in a bid to reach the Siverskyi Donets Canal to seize Chasiv Yar and advance further toward Kramatorsk.

“The implementation of the enemy’s plans is hindered by the heroic defense of our crews,” Syrskyi wrote in a social media post on Sunday, praising Ukrainian troops “who literally crawled into the ground, suppressing the enemy’s daily attacks.”

His comments follow a warning he made last week that the situation on Ukraine’s eastern front had “significantly deteriorated in recent days” as Russia intensified its offensives in the east since last month’s presidential election.