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26 Feb, 2024 21:55

Putin restructures Russian armed forces

The Moscow and Leningrad military districts have been re-established to meet new challenges the country is facing
Putin restructures Russian armed forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree reorganizing the structure of the country’s military. The long defunct Moscow and Leningrad military districts have been reestablished, and Russia’s four formerly Ukrainian regions have been integrated into the Southern Military District.

The decree abolishes the Western Military District and the Joint Strategic Command ‘Northern Fleet’, colloquially referred to as the Northern military district or Arctic troops. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, the Western Military District was established in 2010 by a merger of the Moscow and Leningrad districts, with Arctic troops designated a separate entity in 2014.

The four formerly Ukrainian regions integrated into the Southern Military District, namely Zaporozhye, Kherson, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, joined Russia in late 2022 following referendums.

The need to re-establish the Moscow and Leningrad districts was first expressed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in December 2022. At the time, he argued the move was needed to counter new challenges the country was facing, namely the expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden.

The creation of a new “corresponding troops grouping in the northwest of Russia” was described by the minister as an appropriate response to the augmentation of the US-led bloc.