Putin removes and demotes Russian general Sergei Surovikin for heavy losses in Ukraine war

The Russian military's commander for Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin said troops were withdrawing from Kherson. (AP)

Russian official nicknamed “General Armageddon” has been demoted as the country’s top battlefield commander in Ukraine, according to reports.

On Wednesday, Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov was appointed to take over the role by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Reuters reported. The move comes after the nation has faced a series of defeats in its ongoing war with neighboring Ukraine.

Sergey Surovikin, the official dubbed “General Armageddon,” had received the moniker from the country’s media for his reputation of battlefield brutality.

Back in October, Surovikin was described by a former Russian Defense Ministry official as essentially having some sociopathic tendencies. The unnamed official spoke with The Guardian on the heels of a series of rocket attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets, including a children’s park playground and a university-area road junction.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) is pictured next to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov on December 17, 2022. The latter will replace Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon,” as the country’s top commander in Ukraine.

“Surovikin is absolutely ruthless, with little regard for human life,” the unnamed official told The Guardian at the time. “I am afraid his hands will be completely covered in Ukrainian blood.”

Surovikin had only been promoted last October to the role. He will now stay on as Gerasimov’s deputy, Russia’s Defense Ministry reportedly said.

The one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is creeping up, and world leaders continue to call for an end to the war. Meanwhile, Moscow is seeking to enact shakeups to leadership as a way to boost the “effectiveness of managing military operations in Ukraine,” per Reuters.

Regardless, Russia continues to suffer from setbacks in its mission to overtake the neighboring country.

Business Ukraine magazine taunted Surovikin in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon.

“‘General Armageddon’ Sergei Surovikin has been removed as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine after less than 3 months,” the magazine wrote. “Surovikin was hailed as the man to rescue Putin’s failing invasion but his most notable achievement was the theft of a raccoon while retreating from Kherson.”

Newsweek reported in November that Russian TV had touted the “evacuation” of a raccoon from a zoo in Kherson as a boost in morale.

Both Shoigu and Gerasimov have been on the receiving end of criticism from Russia’s pro-war military bloggers, who have taken to blasting the country’s problems on the battlefield, according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian and Russian troops continued fighting over the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, per Reuters. Moscow sees the city as a necessary stop on its path toward seizing the region of Donbas, with Russia currently “appearing to have the upper hand.”

However, a Ukrainian governor is denying reports that Russia’s military has succeeded in Soledar, according to the Kyiv Independent, adding that the area is still undergoing the “fiercest battle” and that the Russians are suffering from “huge losses in manpower.”

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence slammed Russia via a tweet on Tuesday, calling it a “country of masochists” for continuing to seek out Soledar, even though it had suffered “maimed” soldiers and heavy losses.

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