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Putin restructures Russian armed forces

The Moscow and Leningrad military districts have been re-established to meet the new challenges the country is facing

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree reorganizing the structure of the country’s military. The decree re-establishes the long defunct Moscow and Leningrad military districts, as well as incorporating Russia’s four formerly Ukrainian regions into the Southern Military District.

The decree abolishes the Western Military District and the Joint Strategic Command ‘Northern Fleet’, colloquially referred to as the Northern military district or Arctic troops. The Western Military District, headquartered in St. Petersburg, was established back in 2010 during a merger of the Moscow and Leningrad districts, with the Arctic troops becoming a separate entity in 2014.

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Apart from taking the military structure of Russia’s west and northwest back to its roots, the order also incorporates the four formerly Ukrainian regions into the Southern Military District. Those regions, namely Zaporozhye, Kherson, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, joined Russia in late 2022 following referendums in which the idea was overwhelmingly backed by locals.

The need to re-establish the Moscow and Leningrad districts was first expressed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in December 2022. At the time, he argued the move was needed to counter new challenges the country was facing, namely the expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden.

The creation of a new “corresponding troops grouping in the northwest of Russia” was described by the minister as an appropriate response to the augmentation of the US-led bloc.

February 27, 2024 at 03:25AM

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