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Putin Replaces Defense Minister Following Ukrainian Shelling On Russia’s Border City Belgorod

As Vladimir Putin assumed the presidency for the fifth consecutive term, he reshuffled the cabinet as part of his Presidential duty on Sunday. The defense ministry witnessed a major shift as Putin replaced Sergei Shoigu, a long-standing figure, with Andrei Belousov for the position of defense minister.

On Tuesday, Russian cabinet members resigned in accordance with Russian law, awaiting a reshuffle in positions by President Putin, who started his new term after winning the March elections. Most of the members were reappointed to their old positions by Putin, except Sergei Shoigu, who has been serving Russia as its defense minister since 2012. President Putin proposes a new name for the position, while Sergei Shoigu’s name is proposed for the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council. 

President Putin signed the decree on Sunday, but its fate lies in the hands of the Federation Council, the upper body of the parliament, which is yet to approve it, adding a layer of suspense to the situation. 

Many are speculating that the sudden change of defense minister is linked to Ukraine’s shelling on Russia’s border city, Belgorod, on Sunday. The attack caused a 10-storied building to collapse as it was hit by a Tochka-U TRC missile, according to the defense ministry.

The ministry also confirmed the death of 13 people during the attack. Despite the failure to protect civilians from the particular missile, the defense ministry claimed to utilize the air defense to shoot down several rockets sent over Belgorod successfully.

Andrei Belousov, the new defense minister, has a strong background in economics. He previously served as the minister of economic development and the economic assistant of the Russian president.

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