Russian general fired for criticizing army leaders arrested

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A Russian general who criticized army leaders and raised concerns about the high casualty rate in Ukraine has been arrested on suspicion of fraud, state news agencies reported on Tuesday.

Ivan Popov, 49, was sacked in July 2023 after complaining about military problems in Ukraine, saying in a widely-shared voice note there were “mass deaths and injuries” among Russian soldiers.

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A military court has now remanded him in custody for two months on the charge of “fraud on a large scale,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The Russian defense ministry has been highly sensitive about criticism of the army from within its ranks, particularly since Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin staged a mutiny against the military leadership last year.

The Kremlin has since shaken up some defense ministry roles, replacing minister Sergei Shoigu and arresting senior defense officials Timur Ivanov and Yuri Kuznetsov for corruption.

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Ivan Popov, who commanded the 58th Combined Arms Army stationed in southern Ukraine, said he was dismissed after accusing top commanders of betraying the troops.

“We were hit from the rear by our senior commander, treacherously and vilely decapitating the army at the most difficult and tense moment,” he said in a voice recording last year.

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