Russia is waging a multipronged assault on Ukraine [Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images]

New footage has shown Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visiting the frontlines in Ukraine for the first time.

Shoigu, 67, made his first visit to an undisclosed Ukrainian location to speak with troops in the war zone and seek to reassert control over the war in Ukraine.

Russia did not disclose the location but there is strong speculation he was in blitzkrieg Mariupol which his forces have captured from Ukraine.

Russian state TV boasted that Shoigu would be making future visits to major cities including Kyiv, Odesa and Mykolaiv once Russia’s invasion has seized Ukraine’s major cities.

The defence minister is an army general seen as a likely successor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his visit was seen as a way to send an “I’m in control” message on his first war zone visit.

Sergei Shoigu visited the war zone in Ukraine ( Image: Russian MoD/east2west news)

In March, Shoigu disappeared for several weeks amid claims he had suffered a heart attack or undergone surgery.

But on his frontline visit, he was shown barking out orders to aides who obediently were writing down his instructions.

He handed out medals for heroism and told troops: “I am confident in you.

“You have many more glorious deeds ahead of you for the benefit of our fatherland, the armed forces and the airborne troops.

“Congratulations. Take care of yourselves.”

The defence ministry issued a statement following his visit, saying: “At the command posts of Russian units, Army General Sergei Shoigu heard reports from the commanders on the current situation and actions of the Russian Armed Forces in the main operational areas.”

The Russian warmonger Putin has not yet visited the war zone, unlike risky trips made by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Some analysts believe this is due to his own health problems which are limiting his public appearances.

However, the 69-year-old was seen at a number of engagements last week and is due this week to travel to Central Asia for meetings with leaders of ex-Soviet states.

The secret Shoigu mission came amid speculation that the defence minister has lost control of war tactics to a succession of generals as Putin rotates in his favourites and then tires of them.

Colonel-General Sergei Surovikin is said to have replaced Alexandr Dvornikov who was earlier ordered by Putin to rescue his failing war effort.

Speaking on the changes, the British Ministry of Defence said: “For over thirty years, Surovikin’s career has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality.”

Chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov also appears to have been sidelined.

One Western observer said: “Shoigu is seen looking far more assertive and active than we have seen during the entirety of the war.”

Russian state TV played up the Shoigu visit with ‘propagandist’ Vladimir Solovyov and said the Ukrainians had failed to notice his arrival or seek to strike him with a Tochka-U missile.

Solovyov told viewers: “[Russian defence minister] Sergey Shoigu has arrived in the area of the special military operation.

“Just look. Calmly arrived. Here is [Shoigu] – well done, looks good. They calmly talked – [no] Tochka-U missiles hit them.

“Calmly in the deNazified, demilitarised, liberated from the Nazis territories, [Shoigu] talks to people. All is fine. He easily gets there.

“That is, all is good. And I think we will calmly come soon to Kyiv, Odesa, and Mykolaiv.”

Shoigu flew in on a military helicopter and paid special attention to the organisation of comprehensive support for hostilities, his ministry said.

It continued that he also focused on the “necessary living conditions for Russian military personnel at temporary deployment points.”

Leading Putin foe Leonid Nevzlin warned that Western weakness risks disaster for the world.

He said: “If in the very near future the West does not resolve the issue with Putin by military-political means, then he will win this war and establish his own rules of the game throughout the world.”