Factbox-Who are Russia's Shoigu and Gerasimov, accused by ICC of war crimes?

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of Defence Ministry Board in Moscow

(Reuters) - Here are some key facts about Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, the two top Russian officials against whom the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on Tuesday for alleged crimes in Ukraine.

- Shoigu, 69, served as defence minister from 2012 until President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly removed him in May and named him secretary of the Security Council.

- Gerasimov, 68, has been Chief of the General Staff since 2012 and is overall commander of the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

- Both men were heavily criticised by Russia's influential war bloggers for the army's failings in the first year of the war, when it suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks and retreats.

- Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin hurled abuse at them in a series of videos, accusing them of sabotaging the war effort and starving his Wagner fighters of ammunition, and launched a revolt against them in June 2023. It ended quickly but had the unintended effect of strengthening both Shoigu and Gerasimov as President Vladimir Putin could not be seen to bow to the demands of the mutiny by sacking them. Prigozhin died two months later in a plane crash.

- Shoigu was personally close to Putin, holidaying with him in the forests and mountains of Shoigu's native Siberia where the pair of them were photographed hiking and fishing together bare-chested. But his position was sharply weakened by the arrest of one of his deputies in April this year in a major corruption scandal. The affair has since widened, with more arrests at the defence ministry and the General Staff.

- Gerasimov has remained in his post but potentially vulnerable, as his deputy at the General Staff is one of those detained and under investigation. On the battlefield, however, Russia's fortunes have improved in recent months with a series of gradual gains. The head of the General Staff is the most senior post in the armed forces after the president, who is commander-in-chief, and the defence minister. The job comes with one of Russia's three "nuclear briefcases," according to some Western military analysts.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Ros Russell)