Putin’s Defense Minister swap seen as move to prolong war in Ukraine — Lithuanian President

Gitanas Nausėda
Gitanas Nausėda

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's decision to replace Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with Andrey Belousov is part of a strategy to prolong the war in Ukraine, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said, the web portal Delfi reported on May 12.

"I have such little faith in this regime that I do not believe in their motivations or decisions," Nausėda said.

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"All of this is done for the domestic market, all of this is done to prolong this war, and let us not harbor any illusions that Vladimir Putin is ready for any peaceful negotiations. He feels that he has now taken the initiative in the war, he sees the delay in Western support for Ukraine, and he feels capable of doing what he does."

Effective support from the West is currently the only way to stop the war in Ukraine, he said.

"The main thing is to do it quickly," Nausėda added.

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Putin issued a decree on May 12, replacing Defense Minister Shoigu with Belousov, previously the first deputy prime minister. Shoigu, who has led the Defense Ministry since Nov. 6, 2012, will take over as Security Council Secretary from Nikolai Patrushev.

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