MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov did not accompany Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to the battlegroups in the special military operation area to exclude too great risk for their joint visit, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
On April 17, President Putin visited the headquarters of the Dnepr Battlegroup in the Kherson area and the headquarters of the National Guard’s Battlegroup East in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). The head of state listened to the reports by the military commanders in the Kherson, Zaporozhye and Lugansk directions.
"There were a lot of questions about why Shoigu and the chief of the General Staff did not accompany him [the head of state]. It is hardly expedient for the supreme commander-in-chief, the defense minister and the chief of the General Staff to gather in one place and thus tempt the enemy. And, of course, this is a great risk," the Kremlin press secretary explained.
The defense and military chiefs joined the meetings held by Putin at the headquarters of the Dnepr and East battlegroups via video conferencing, Peskov said.
"Defense Minister Shoigu took part in the meeting that the president held in the Kherson Region via video conferencing. He joined the meeting via a video link. At the second meeting held in the LPR, Chief of the General Staff and Commander of the Joint Group of Forces Gerasimov was present via video conferencing," the Kremlin press secretary explained.
At the second meeting, the results of the trip were summed up as a whole and overview reports were presented, he specified.
The Kremlin press secretary also made clear who had personally accompanied Putin in his trip to the special military operation area.
"In the Kherson Region, the president talked with and received reports from Dnepr Battlegroup Commander Colonel-General Oleg Makarevich, Battlegroup East Commander Andrey Kuzmenko and Deputy Commander of the Joint Group of Forces Colonel-General Mikhail Teplinsky," Peskov said.
The meeting held by the Russian president in the Lugansk People’s Republic was personally attended by Battlegroup South Commander Colonel-General Sergey Kuzovlev, Battlegroup Center Commander Lieutenant-General Alexander Mordvichev, Battlegroup West Commander Colonel-General Yevgeny Nikiforov and Deputy Commander of the Joint Group of Forces Colonel-General Alexander Lapin. Russian National Guard Battlegroup Commander Colonel-General Sergey Boiko was also present at the meeting, Peskov added.