Gerasimov replaces Surovikin as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine

11 January, 11:37 PM
Valery Gerasimov (Photo:Sputnik/Sergei Fadeichev/Pool via REUTERS)

Valery Gerasimov (Photo:Sputnik/Sergei Fadeichev/Pool via REUTERS)

The head of Russia’s General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, will replace Gen. Sergey Surovikin as the commander of Russian invasion force in Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry announced on Jan. 11.

“On Jan. 11, 2023, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, made new appointments to lead the Special Military Operation,” the message said.

According to the announcement, Gerasimov has been appointed commander of the joint task force deployed in Ukraine.

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Surovikin now serves as one of Gerasimov’s deputies and continues to oversee the Russian Air Force.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak described Gerasimov’s appointment as “a comeback of traditional generals.”

“Surovikin was rather close to hyper-radicals in (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin’s entourage, who were vying for greater influence,” Podolyak told Ukrainian TV broadcasters.

“Surovikin, Prigozhin, and Kadyrov were rapidly advancing up the food chain, they sought – and Putin realized this – to surround Putin with their people and rule Russia, as they saw him losing influence.”

On Dec. 6, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that top Russian military command has failed to meet the Kremlin's expectations and is likely to be replaced.

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