Putin dismisses General Sergei Surovikin from his position as the head of Russian aerospace forces

A prominent Russian journalist on Tuesday said General Sergei Surovikin, who at one time was commander of Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, has been dismissed as head of the country’s aerospace forces.

There was no official confirmation of the report by Alexei Venediktov, the well-connected former head of the now-defunct Ekho Moskvy radio station. Venediktov on his Telegram channel said Surovikin had been removed by official decree, without providing any further details.

The RBC media outlet later on Tuesday also reported that Venediktov has been dismissed, citing its own sources.

“Army General Sergei Surovikin has been relieved of his post in connection with the transition to another job and is at the disposal of (the Ministry of Defence),” RBC said.

One of the paper’s sources said Surovikin “is currently on short-term leave.”

The general has not been seen in public since a short-lived mutiny in June by the Wagner mercenary group and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, against Russia’s defence establishment.

During the revolt, Surovikin appeared in a video urging Prigozhin to stand down. Since the mutiny, Russian and foreign news reports have said that Surovikin was being investigated for possible complicity in it.

Surovikin earned the nickname “General Armageddon” during Russia’s military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

In October he was placed in charge of Russian military operations in Ukraine, but in January that role was handed to General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff, and Surovikin was made a deputy to Gerasimov.

The Washington, DC-based think tank The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Tuesday that Russian military bloggers claimed the latest news on Surovikin’s fate was neither new, nor a surprise.

“Surovikin’s alleged dismissal is not new and does not change anything because Russian authorities removed Surovikin from power immediately after Prigozhin’s June 24 rebellion,” the bloggers said, according to ISW.

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