In September, Labin was also given responsibility for the Western District following military defeats there, according to Ukrainian intelligence reports.
A harsh criticism of Wagner boss Prigozin
Recently, however, his leadership has come under criticism, particularly by Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov. He criticized military defeats and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lyman under Lapin’s command. Kadyrov called for Lapin to be demoted to an ordinary soldier. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group, also agreed with the Chechens at the time and demanded that Labin be sent to the front “with a machine gun and bare feet”.
Lapin, 58, has been the commander of the Central Military District since 2017. Previously, he headed the headquarters of the Russian delegation in Syria. According to the Moscow Times, an acquaintance of the general described him as an “unpretentious and executive” person who “not only follows orders, but is happy to carry them out.” Lapin was for some time a subordinate of Sergei Surovikhin, who now leads the Russian army in the war in Ukraine, and also served in Syria, where he is feared for atrocities against civilians.
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