Vladimir Putin removes Sergei Shoigu from Russian defence ministry

Russian President Vladimir Putin has removed his long-standing ally Sergei Shoigu as defence minister, the Kremlin has announced.

The 68-year-old has been in the role since 2012 and is to be appointed secretary of Russia’s Security Council.

Papers published by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament said Mr Shoigu will be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov.

The Kremlin said the defence ministry needed to stay “innovative”.

Russian government papers show Mr Putin wants Mr Shoigu to take over from Nikolai Patrushev on the powerful security council. It is not yet clear what Mr Patrushev’s new post will be.

Mr Shoigu has close links with President Putin, often taking him on fishing trips in his native Siberia.

He was given the defence portfolio despite having no military background, which rankled with some of his top brass.

A civil engineer by profession, Mr Shoigu rose to prominence as the head of the emergencies and disaster relief ministry in the 1990s.

He often looked out of his depth as defence minister, especially after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago, BBC Europe analyst Danny Aeberhard says.

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