The current commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet, Admiral Sergey Avakyanc, has been appointed head of the office overseeing the centers of Russian military sports units and patriotic education, announced on April 19 the Deputy Prime Minister and the President’s Envoy for the Far East Yuri Trutnev. The move to this position means that the admiral no longer holds one of the highest military posts, command of the Pacific Fleet.
The fleet subsequently confirmed it: “Admiral Sergej Avakyanc is currently on leave with a subsequent transfer to the reserve after reaching the age limit for service in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (he turned 65 on April 6).” Trutněv informed the commander’s post, and not the Ministry of Defense.
A TASS source denied that he had been dismissed: “There is no release (from his position), he simply reached the limit for performing military service.” But he made it clear that there are also speculations about other reasons for the admiral’s departure.
There are several high-ranking commanders in the war in Ukraine who have long passed this age limit, including Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of the operation in Ukraine, and Commander of the Ground Forces Oleg Salyukov.
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The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggested that the removal of the admiral may be linked to the poor combat performance of Marine units of the Pacific Fleet in Ukraine. At Vuhledar, the 155th and 40th Marine Brigades were deployed at the beginning of the year, but failed to break through.
The news of Avakyanka’s dismissal came just days after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Friday, April 14, a surprise review of the readiness of the Pacific Fleet, which is still ongoing. At the same time, he ordered the start of a naval exercise involving 167 ships, 12 submarines, 89 aircraft including long-range bombers and 25,000 troops. Practice ended on Thursday.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the Navy’s high performance during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The TASS agency, citing its sources close to the navy, announced that the current commander of the Baltic Fleet, Admiral Viktor Liina, would be in command of the Pacific Fleet, and Vice Admiral Vladimir Vorobyov, the deputy chief of staff, would take over from him.
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