In a surprising move, the Russian president has dismissed the top general of the armed forces.

In a voice message on Telegram app, Maj Gen Popov said he was relieved of his duty because he questioned the “lack of counter-battery combat, the absence of artillery reconnaissance stations and the mass deaths and injuries of our brothers from enemy artillery.”

“It was necessary either to keep quiet and be a coward or to say it the way it is,” he said, according to BBC.”I had no right to lie in the name of you, in the name of my fallen comrades in arms, so I outlined all the problems which exist.”

According to CNN, the voice message was shared by a member of the Russian Parliament and former deputy commander of the Southern Military District, Andrey Gurulev.“I also raised a number of other problems and expressed it all at the highest level frankly and extremely harshly,” Popov was quoted as saying in the message.

He claimed that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu “got rid of me,”, as he accused the top Kremlin official of treason. “As many commanders of divisional regiments said today, the servicemen of the armed forces of Ukraine could not break through our army from the front, (but) our senior commander hit us from the rear, treacherously and vilely decapitating the army at the most difficult and tense moment,” Popov said.

The decision has sparked mixed reactions among analysts and observers, who see it as a sign of growing tensions within the Russian leadership over the war in Ukraine.

They fear that his removal will pave the way for more aggressive and reckless actions by the defense ministry and the Kremlin, which could trigger a wider confrontation with NATO and other countries.

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