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Russia has fired the top military commanders of its Baltic Fleet, which is based at Kaliningrad, in an unprecedented move.

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Russian Baltic Fleet on exercises at Kaliningrad
Russian Baltic Fleet on exercises at Kaliningrad
© RIA/Scanpix

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu dismissed the Commander of the Baltic Fleet and the Chief of Staff of the Fleet for “shortcomings in combat training and distortions of reality in reports” according the Tass news agency.

Vice Admiral Alexander Nosatov has been appointed Acting Commander of Russia’s Baltic Fleet and Shoigu announced that he ordered “the urgent elimination of the shortcomings” and a new inspection of the Baltic Fleet before the end of this year.

“This is the first time in Russia’s modern history that commanders have been dismissed in such a way,” Valentin Selivanov, a military analyst, retired admiral and former deputy head of the Russian Navy told the New York Times. “These commanders must have made a series of serious mistakes.”

The dismissals are all the more surprising because Russian President Vladimir Putin, who would have approved them, visited the fleet’s main base at Baltiysk last July and was unsparing in his praise, reports The New York Times.

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