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Putin in Cabinet shakeup moves to replace defense minister as he starts his 5th term in office


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday replaced Sergei Shoigu as defense minister in a Cabinet shakeup that comes as he begins his fifth term in office.

In line with Russian law, the entire Russian Cabinet resigned Tuesday following Putin’s glittering inauguration in the Kremlin, and most members have been widely expected to keep their jobs, while Shoigu’s fate had appeared uncertain.

Putin signed a decree on Sunday appointing Shoigu as secretary of Russia’s Security Council, the Kremlin said. The appointment was announced shortly after Putin proposed Andrei Belousov to become the country’s defense minister in place of Shoigu.

The announcement of Shoigu’s new role came as 13 people were reported dead and 20 more wounded in Russia’s border city of Belgorod, where a section of a residential building collapsed after what Russian officials said was Ukrainian shelling.

FILE - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, gestures as he speaks to Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov prior to a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin with the top military brass in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. The Kremlin says Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree appointing Sergei Shoigu as secretary of Russia's national security council, replacing Nikolai Patrushev. The appointment Sunday comes after Putin proposed to appoint Andrei Belousov as the country's defense minister instead of Shoigu, who has served in the post for years. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, gestures as he speaks to Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov prior to a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin with the top military brass in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Belousov’s candidacy will need to be approved by Russia’s upper house in parliament, the Federation Council. It reported Sunday that Putin introduced proposals for other Cabinet positions as well but Shoigu is the only minister on that list who is being replaced. Several other new candidates for federal ministers were proposed Saturday by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, reappointed by Putin on Friday.

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