According to an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, there is speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin fired his top commander in what is the latest rumor about his resignation during his floundering invasion of Ukraine.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential adviser, said in an interview with Russian dissident lawyer Mark Feygin on Wednesday that “preliminary information” indicated that Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff, had been fired.
The reported looting could not be independently verified and the Kremlin has provided no indications of an eviction from the upper echelons.
But Gerasimov — who explained Russian President Vladimir Putin on the other side of a long table with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the lead-up to the war — was noticeably absent from this week’s Victory Day parade in Moscow.
Gerasimov is widely regarded as one of the architects of the Kremlin’s Ukraine strategy.
The rumors come after reports last month that other leaders of the failed invasion have also been sidelined, including the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Igor Osipov.
It is rumored that several Russian army commanders have been fired, including Lieutenant General Vladislav Ershov, Lieutenant General Sergei Kisel and Major General Arkady Marzoev.
While Arestovych said Putin may be cleaning the house, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, said the opposite could be true.
In an interview with Sky News Friday, Budanov suggested that an insider coup against Putin was already underway.
The Ukrainian general said he expects the war to be over by the end of the year.
“The breaking point is in the second half of August. Most active combat operations will be completed by the end of this year,” he predicted.