Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation this week of the general in charge of Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal, the Kommersant newspaper reported July 7.
Lieutenant General Yuri Sych, head of the Defense Ministry’s 12th directorate, in charge of the storage, maintenance and launch preparation of the country’s nuclear arsenal, resigned after complaining of health issues, a Kommersant source in the Defense Ministry said.
The source said that Putin secretly signed a decree accepting Sych’s resignation on July 5. Major General Igor Kolesnikov has been appointed acting head.
Sych, who held his position since December 2010, told the newspaper that he will still remain at his post for several more months, and would not speculate on his possible successor.
The Defense Ministry has praised Sych, saying he has maintained a high level of safety over the nation’s arsenals, without a single incident occurring during his command.
The 12th directorate is in charge of the storage of nuclear weapons, nuclear research institutes, nuclear monitoring services aimed at tracking foreign test facilities, and the test range on Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
Sych also worked with Russia’s Foreign Ministry on radiation safety issues as well as nuclear non-proliferation.
As of March 1, 2017, Russia has 1,765 strategic nuclear weapons.