Russian general who criticized equipment shortages in Ukraine is arrested on bribery charges

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — A Russian general who was relieved of duty last year after complaining about problems faced by his troops in Ukraine has been arrested on charges of widescale bribery, Russian news reports said Tuesday.

The arrest of Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, who had commanded the 58th Guards Combined Arms Army, follows the arrest last month of Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, a close associate of then-Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, also on bribery charges.

President Vladimir Putin dismissed Shoigu as defense minister on May 12, appointing him head of the national security council. Shoigu had been widely blamed for Russia’s failure to capture Kyiv early in the Ukraine fighting and was accused of incompetence and corruption by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who launched a mutiny in June 2023 to demand the dismissal of Shoigu and military chief of staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

Less than a month after Prigozhin’s failed uprising, Popov was dismissed. He said he had spoken to Shoigu about insufficient equipment in the Ukraine war that had led to excessive Russian deaths, and that his dismissal was a ““treacherous” stab in the back to Russian forces in Ukraine.

Popov’s forces were fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region, one of the most hotly contested areas in the Ukraine war. His dismissal came one day after the 58th Army’s command post in the city of Berdyansk was hit in a Ukrainian strike, killing a high-ranking general.

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