Video of Sergei Shoigu's Zoom meeting with Putin seems to be recordingMarch 24, 2022
Has Russia FAKED missing defence minister’s return? Video of Sergei Shoigu’s Zoom meeting with Putin seems to be a recording of old footage – amid reports the failed war efforts have ‘strained’ their relationship
- Defence minister Sergei Shoigu has not been seen for 12 days, say media reports
- Russia’s Vladimir Putin has started witch-hunt among his inner circle of advisors
- Grew wary of close allies after US and Britain received leaks of his military plans
- Leaks blamed for Ukraine’s successful targeting of top generals and elite forces
- Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, commander of the invasion, is under suspicion
Moscow today released dubious footage claiming to show Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting of top officials after he vanished from public view for 13 days.
Video, released by Russian state media, purports to show Shoigu on the Zoom call with Vladimir Putin on Thursday – but questions have been raised over whether his appearance is a recording of old footage.
Shoigu, who is in charge of the bloody invasion of Ukraine, vanished with ‘heart problems’ and has not been seen in public since March 11, fuelling speculation about his whereabouts.
In the footage released by state-run RIA news agency, an image of Shoigu mysteriously appears on the top left-hand corner of a video split screen set up in front of Putin as the Russian President spoke to his Security Conference.
In the moments before an image of Shoigu appears, his screen is black and the image shakes about for a few seconds – despite all of the other officials appearing clearly on the screen from the beginning of the call.
The clip did not contain audio nor did it show Shoigu speaking.
The release of the footage comes amid reports Shoigu and Putin’s relationship has become strained after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has led to more than 15,000 Russian troops being killed.
Moscow today released dubious footage claiming to show Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting if top officials after vanishing from public view for 13 days
Video, released by Russian state media, purports to show Shoigu (top left corner) on the Zoom call with Vladimir Putin on Thursday – but questions have been raised over whether his appearance is a recording of old footage
Vladimir Putin has started a witch-hunt among his inner circle and has grown wary of close allies, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (pictured together), after the US and Britain received leaks of his military plans
Meanwhile, Shoigu’s younger daughter Ksenia, 31, was seen posing in the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow in a photo posted online.
The Kremlin has been accused of using old footage and pictures of Shoigu on TV after he vanished from public view.
It comes after it was revealed Putin had started a witch-hunt among his inner circle and was growing wary of close allies after the US and Britain received leaks of his military plans.
In the moments before an image of Shoigu appears, his screen is black (pictured top left of the screen)
And the image shakes about for a few seconds – despite all of the other officials appearing clearly on the screen from the beginning of the call
In the footage released by state-run RIA news agency, an image of Shoigu mysteriously appears on the top left-hand corner of a video split screen set up in front of Putin as the Russian President spoke to his Security Conference
Shoigu’s public appearances have been significantly curtailed in the past week, while his younger daughter Ksenia, 31, was seen posing in Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow (pictured)
Asked about Shoigu’s whereabouts, the Kremlin said it was understandable that the defence minister was devoting less time to media appearances.
‘The defence minister has a lot on his mind right now. A special military operation is under way. Now is not really the time for media activity,’ spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
Shoigu is a veteran of Russia’s political landscape who rose to prominence as the head of the Emergencies Ministry in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
On March 18, Shoigu, 66, was mentioned in a Kremlin website report saying he and Putin had discussed the ‘the progress of the special operation in Ukraine’ with permanent members of the security council. But videos and pictures were not shown.
On the same day, Channel One aired a story about Shoigu presenting awards, yet an image used with the report was the same as shown on March 11.
Earlier in the war he had been more visible, and frequently quoted. His circle said he was unwell – with heart problems, investigative news outlet Agentstvo was told by a source close to the minister.
Shoigu is seen as one of Putin’s closest and most loyal allies.
However, strains have appeared over the conduct of the war with him and other leading army and security chiefs.
Despite mobilising a force of between 150,000 and 200,000 Russian troops, Moscow failed to anticipate anything other than weak resistance by the Ukrainian forces – likely owing to Russian intelligence failures.
A senior NATO military officer today said the alliance estimates that Russia has suffered between 30,000 and 40,000 battlefield casualties in Ukraine through the first month of the war, including between 7,000 and 15,000 killed.
In June last year his sister Larisa Shoigu, 68, died of Covid.
The Russian president is seeking out ‘guilty men’ behind his stalled invasion of Ukraine and is said to be ‘incandescent’ that the US and Britain have been privy to Moscow’s military tactics.
Among those rousing suspicion is Putin’s close ally Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, (pictured on holiday together) who is in charge of the bloody military operation in Ukraine which is believed to have led to more than 10,000 troops being killed, and mass civilian deaths
Sources said leaks, which have been passed by London and Washington to Kyiv, had been blamed as the reason Russia’s top generals and elite forces have been targeted so effectively in Ukraine.
Sources say Putin has been dismissive in private of long-time ally Alexander Bortnikov, FSB security service head, and started snapping in meetings at Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff.
Bortnikov has been spoken of as a stand-in leader should Putin fall in a coup.
Another target of Putin’s fury is Igor Kostyukov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed forces, who may face imminent removal as part of a wider purge.
Earlier ahead of the invasion he publicly humiliated SVR foreign intelligence chief Sergey Naryshkin.
But Putin is reportedly more concerned with losses of military hardware – for which he has blamed Gerasimov – than more battlefield casualties.
A toll of 50,000 would be ‘nothing compared to the goals that will be achieved after the victory’, he is said to have told his commanders.
Some believe he is planning for a deal he will sell as a Ukrainian ‘surrender’ and a ‘victory parade’ in Moscow in early May.
‘He is incandescent that US and UK intelligence appear to know the Russian army’s next moves all the time, starting with predicting the invasion before he was ready to acknowledge it,’ said one source.
Sources say Putin has been dismissive in private of long-time ally Alexander Bortnikov, FSB security service head, and started snapping in meetings at Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff (pictured)
Another target of Putin’s fury is Igor Kostyukov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed forces, (pictured with Putin, first left) who may face imminent removal as part of a wider purge
Earlier ahead of the invasion he publicly humiliated SVR foreign intelligence chief Sergey Naryshkin
The loss of more than a a dozen generals is seen as linked to these real time leaks of his military operation movements.
Russian security expert Andrei Soldatov said military counterintelligence is probing an FSB security service department.
Russian top military officials killed during invasion
- Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev
- Major General Vitaly Gerasimov
- Major General Andrei Kolesnikov
- Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky
- Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko
- Colonel Sergei Porokhyna
- Colonel Sergei Sukharev
- Colonel Andrei Zakharov
- Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky
- Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Agarkov
- Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov
- Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov
- Major Viktor Maksimchuk
- General Magomed Tushaev
- Captain Andrey Paliy
- Captain Alexey Glushchak
- Colonel Alexei Sharov
‘That could mean that, finally, people in Moscow started asking themselves why the US intelligence was so accurate,’ he told The New Yorker.
‘Military counterintelligence is mostly about mole-hunting, identifying the sources of leaks.
‘So it looks like now Putin is getting angry, not only with bad intelligence and the bad performance in Ukraine but also about the sourcing of the US intelligence about the invasion, and why US intelligence was so good before the invasion, and why the Americans knew so many things about what was coming.’
He also believes Putin in blaming his underlings for ‘the lack of popular support in Ukraine for the Russian troops’, as if locals were expected to cheer the arrival of the invaders.
He said Putin’s top brass are still too scared to tell him the truth.
‘You have so many people now in jail, even people from the FSB. So if you think, from the point of view of a military general, is it really safe to say something to Putin that he would not like? I think it’s a big challenge for them.’
The climate of fear means that intelligence on the scale of Ukraine’s likely resistance to Russian invaders was hidden from Putin.
But Soldatov does not expect a move by his inner circle to assassinate Putin, despite the increasing hostile treatment they face.
‘I think now Putin is almost in no danger,’ he told ZDF Heute in Germany. ‘He has two security services, who are primarily responsible for ensuring that nothing happens to Putin personally.
‘We know that he himself is a former intelligence officer, who understands the different risks. He often claims that he successfully survived from 12 to 13 assassination attempts on his life. In this sense, everything is safe for him.’
Russian security expert Andrei Soldatov (pictured) said military counterintelligence is probing an FSB security service department
Russia has unleashed conventional ballistic missiles against Ukraine (pictured, damage caused by a missile in Kyiv) amid warnings they could now be looking to use low-yield nukes
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