After Sacking Ukraine Invasion Chief, Putin Berates Trade Minister
Russian President Vladimir Putin lost his cool during his government's first meeting of 2023, publicly telling off the trade and industry minister.
Photo Insert: Putin accused Denis Manturov of bureaucratic delays in ordering civilian and military plans for several minutes.
For several minutes he accused Denis Manturov of bureaucratic delays in ordering civilian and military planes, Paul Kirby reported for BBC News.
"Too long, it is taking too long," said the Russian leader, who has never been one to hold back in criticizing top officials in public. "What are you fooling around for? When will the contracts be signed?"
The government's first meeting came on the same day that President Putin replaced his top commander in Ukraine after just three months in charge. Gen Sergei Surovikin was appointed in October after a series of setbacks in Russia's invasion of Ukraine but he has failed to reverse the course of the war.
In an otherwise upbeat video call shown on Russian TV in which Putin praised his ministers' handling of the economy, Putin repeatedly interrupted Mr. Manturov, as the minister detailed plans for planes, helicopters, and boats.
"These 700 aircraft, including helicopters... you need to sort this out with the defense ministry... several enterprises still haven't received any orders," he complained.
Manturov has been a loyal member of the Putin ministerial team since 2012, and has regularly traveled with the president on foreign and domestic visits. He was handed the task of overseeing Russia's weapons industry last summer when shortcomings had already been exposed on the battlefield.
As he explained that his ministry had launched a program to produce helicopter engines in St Petersburg that were previously made in Ukraine, the president butted in, complaining it was all taking too long.