A former commander of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine accused Russia’s Defense Minister of “criminal negligence” over the nation’s failed war campaign.
Igor Girkin, who previously served as the defense minister for separatist forces backed by Russia in Ukraine’s Donbas region, made the comments on his Telegram channel Friday.
“I directly accuse Sergei Shoigu of, at minimum, criminal negligence,” Girkin said, according to Reuters. “I have no grounds to accuse him of treason, but I would suspect it.”
His comment is one of the strongest public attacks on Russia’s military leadership from a pro-Kremlin figure to date. Girkin has long been critical of Russia’s invasion, and has even advocated for a more brutal affront as Russia continues to face significant losses and fierce resistance from Ukrainian fighters. He was previously charged for murder by Dutch prosecutors over his alleged role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, according to Reuters.