- Two Russian commanders were sacked over the faltering invasion of Ukraine, UK intelligence said.
- Officials claimed other officers were 'scapegoating' each other to avoid being blamed themselves.
- This, the British officials said, was further harming Russia by distracting its top commanders.
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Russia fired senior commanders for poor performance during its invasion of Ukraine, UK intelligence officials said on Thursday.
It also said that other senior commanders were distracted thanks to "a culture of cover-ups and scapegoating" which left them more concerned with avoiding blame than achieving Russia's war aims.
The UK update said that Lieutenant-General Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, was suspended for his failure to capture Kharkiv.
It also said that Vice-Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was fired for the sinking of the cruiser Moskva in April.
The country's Chief of the General Staff, Valeriy Gerasimov, was believed to still be in post, "but it is unclear whether he retains the confidence of President Putin", it said.
The intelligence comes after unnamed Western military sources told The Guardian and The Sunday Times that the Russian president was becoming increasingly involved in the operation, leading one expert to suggest Putin was "micromanaging" Russia's war efforts.
The decision to send top-level officials to the front line is a major reason Russia has lost so many generals since the war began. On Wednesday, the UK claimed Russia was being forced to rely on a ragtag group of fighters rather than its main army because of "significant resourcing problems".
Given the sustained military losses and failure to take cities such as Mariupol in the timeframe expected, the MoD said "a culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system".
That means officials involved in Russia's invasion of Ukraine were likely increasingly "distracted" by efforts to cover their own backs "to avoid personal culpability".
The UK's defence HQ said that it would be "difficult for Russia to regain the initiative under these conditions".