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Putin officially confirms new defense minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially appointed Andrey Belousov as the new minister of defense.

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Belousov, an economist by trade, is a former first deputy prime minister and Putin’s long-time adviser on economic matters.

Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained his appointment by the fact that the “battlefield is now dominated by those who are more open to innovations and are ready to introduce them in the fastest way possible.”

Belousov officially entered his post on Tuesday evening, when Putin signed the decree on the new cabinet, after receiving the approval of the State Duma.

Sergey Shoigu, who had served as defense minister for almost twelve years, was appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council on Sunday.

Both Belousov and Shoigu are expected to travel with Putin to Beijing later this week for a series of meetings with their Chinese counterparts.

The shake-up at the defense ministry comes as Russian forces are advancing all along the frontline. The latest push is north of Kharkov, where a major operation began last Friday and has already resulted in the capture of several settlements and major Ukrainian losses. Kiev has frantically shifted several units from Kherson and Donetsk to the northern front.

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