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Putin Picks New Commander for Forces in Ukraine

(Bloomberg) — Russia named a new commander of its forces in Ukraine, the latest in a number of military shuffles since the invasion bogged down and confounded President Vladimir Putin’s expectations of a quick and limited “special military operation.”

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in Washington that Russia has had a lot of changes in its command as it tries “to overcome their own difficulties” in a war it shouldn’t have started.

Ukrainian forces were fighting to keep control of Soledar and Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

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On the Ground

Russian forces hit the southern city of Zaporizhzhia with missiles overnight, damaging private buildings and infrastructure facilities, regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh said on Telegram. To the east, Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 12 settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including Bakhmut, over the past day, the General Staff said on Facebook. Shelling also continued in Soledar, where Russia has recently ramped up its assault.

(All times CET)

Russian Troops Haven’t Fully Seized Soledar, Military Think Tank Says (9:40 am)

Russian troops have not yet fully captured Soledar despite numerous claims from the country’s sources, according to the daily note from the Institute for the Study of War.

Even capture of the town would unlikely enable Russian forces to seize the more strategic city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, it said.

Russian offensive operations to capture Bakhmut have likely culminated due to degraded operational capabilities, it said. The increasing shortage of munitions may also be one of the main issues that will probably hinder the ability of the Russian army to sustain offensive operations in eastern Ukraine this year, the institute said.

Russia Names New Commander in Latest Reshuffle (1 am)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu changed the military leadership in Ukraine, appointing Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff, as head of the nation’s combined forces.

General Sergei Surovikin, who had held the post since October, will become one of Gerasimov’s deputies, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Under Surovikin’s command, Russian forces withdrew from Kherson, the only Ukrainian regional center captured by Russia after the Feb. 24 invasion. Russia also unleashed waves of missile attacks targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

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