Grant Shapps: Next Russian defence minister will be Putin puppet

Grant Shapps has predicted Russia’s next defence minister will be another of Vladimir Putin’s “puppets” amid reports Sergei Shoigu is set to be replaced.

Russia’s president is moving long-time ally Mr Shoigu to another role and has proposed appointing former deputy prime minister Andrei Belousov in his place more than two years into the Ukraine war.

Defence Secretary Mr Shapps said: “Sergei Shoigu has overseen over 355k casualties amongst his own soldiers & mass civilian suffering with an illegal campaign in Ukraine.

“Russia needs a Defence Minister who would undo that disastrous legacy & end the invasion – but all they’ll get is another of Putin’s puppets.”

Mr Shoigu, defence minister since 2012, is set to become secretary of Russia’s national security council.

The reshuffle of the military command is the most significant Mr Putin has undertaken since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

The announcement came amid Russia’s renewed armoured push across the border in north-eastern Ukraine.