VILNIUS, July 12 (Reuters) – British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday compared two of Russia’s top military leaders to the slapstick comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Speaking to reporters at a NATO summit in Vilnius, Wallace made the comparison to the bumbling, bowler-hatted comedians of the 1920s to 1950s when describing Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces.
Wallace noted that the pair remained in charge of Russia’s faltering war in Ukraine while Sergei Surovikin, one of Russia’s most prominent generals, had vanished from public view since a mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group last month.
“Anyone seen Surovikin recently? One of their best generals has disappeared for now,” Wallace said. “And they’ve kept Laurel and Hardy in charge of the campaign. You know, you’ve got Gerasimov and Shoigu there.
Critics in the West and even inside Russia say Russian invasion forces in Ukraine have been naive, poorly equipped, slow to react, and dogged by muddled command structures.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin has kept both men in their posts.
“That’s good news for Ukraine. That’s who you want in charge,” Wallace said.