Russia has brought in a commander dogged with allegations of “brutality” in a military shake up, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
In its latest update, the MoD said the Russian high command has removed several general from key operational positions.
One of those includes, commander of the Southern Group of Forces (SGF) general of the army Alexandr Dvornikov.
General Dvornikov is likely to have overseen over-all operational control the MoD has said and has been replaced by colonel-general Sergei Surovikin.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 25 June 2022
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“For over thirty years, Surovikin’s career has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality,” the MoD adds.
The MoD also reported that forces still remain focused on the city of Severedontesk where fighting has intensified in recent weeks.
The update adds: “Ukraine is likely re-configuring its defence of the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk sector, as Russian armoured units continue to make creeping gains on the southern edge of the build up area.”
Due to the consistent shelling, Luhansk regional head Serhiy Haidai, said forces have now been told to evacuate to new positions.
A Ukrainian retreat would leave the majority of Luhansk under Russian control bar the city of Lysychansk.
“Remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled for months just doesn’t make sense,” Mr Haidai told Ukrainian television.
“They Ukrainian forces have received orders to retreat to new positions and continue their operations from there.”
It is thought civilians have taken up shelter in the city’s Azot plant as Russia continues with its plans to take the Donbas region.
In further news, a Russian airstrike hit a military facility in western Ukraine, the governor of Lyiv, Maxim Kozitsky, has said.
He claimed six missiles fired from the Black Sea with four of those hitting the Yavoriv military facility.