A former Russian-backed separatist commander accused the Kremlin’s top defense official of “criminal negligence” bordering on “treason” in a rant against Moscow’s handling of the war in Ukraine.
The separatist leader, a hawkish proponent of an even more brutal campaign against Ukraine, made the comments on his Telegram channel.
“I directly accuse [Russian Defense Minister] Sergei Shoigu of, at minimum, criminal negligence,” Igor Girkin said. “I have no grounds to accuse him of treason, but I would suspect it.”
Girkin — who goes by the nickname “Shooter” — has been charged with murder by Dutch authorities for his alleged role in shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.
He is a former colonel of Russia’s FSB spy service, and was the minister of defense for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic during Russia’s 2014 incursion into Ukraine.
The Kremlin did not appear to have responded to the rant on Friday.
Moscow has lost ground to Ukrainian counterattacks around Kharkiv in the past few days.
The Kremlin declared the eastern industrial portion of Ukraine — commonly known as the Donbas — to be its primary objective in late March, after an attempt to take the capital city of Kyiv failed.
Russian forces in the Donbas — which includes the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic — have not yet made any significant gains.
With Post wires