Russian defense minister inspects troops in Ukraine
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu conducted an inspection of troops involved in the military operation in Ukraine and presented state awards to the most distinguished servicemen, the ministry said on Sunday.
Commanders reported to the minister on the situation on the ground, with Shoigu paying special attention to the “organization of comprehensive support for the military action, as well as to creation of all necessary living conditions for Russian military personnel at temporary deployment points.”
“Also, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, presented state awards: the Gold Star medal of the Hero of the Russian Federation and the Order of Courage to Russian servicemen who showed heroism and dedication in performing combat missions during the special military operation,” a statement outlined.
It did not specify where or when the events took place.
Earlier this week, the Defence Ministry's spokesman, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, named the commanders of the troops fighting in Ukraine. Colonel General Alexander Lapin is responsible for formations and military units of the Center grouping of troops. Meanwhile, General Sergey Surovikin, who in 2017 was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his role in the military operation in Syria, leads the Southern grouping.
The inspection by the minister came in the wake of a major success for the Russian and allied forces. On Saturday, the Konashenkov announced that the important city of Severodonetsk, together with a number of other locations nearby, had been “completely liberated.” The news meant “the entire left-bank territory of the Seversky Donets river within the borders of the Lugansk People’s Republic had come under its full control,” Konashenkov explained.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.