Russia appoints new general to lead Ukraine offensive after setbacks


Russia on Saturday named a new general to lead Ukraine’s offensive after Moscow suffered a series of military setbacks that sparked criticism of the army’s leadership.

The Russian Defense Ministry said General Sergei Surovikin had been appointed “commander of the joint grouping of forces in the areas of the special military operation”, using the Kremlin term for the offensive.

The decision was announced after forces from Moscow were pushed back by Kyiv in recent weeks in areas the Kremlin had declared Russian “forever”.

According to the ministry’s website, Surovikin is 55 years old and was born in Novosibirsk in Siberia.

He has combat experience in the conflicts of the 1990s in Tajikistan and Chechnya and, more recently, in Syria, where Moscow intervened in 2015 alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Until now, Surovikin led the “southern” forces in Ukraine, according to a Defense Ministry report in July.

The name of his predecessor was never officially revealed, but some Russian media said he was General Alexander Dvornikov, also a general in the Second Chechen War and a Russian commander in Syria.

The decision – exceptionally made public by Moscow – comes after a series of crushing defeats suffered by the Russian army in Ukraine.

Russian forces were driven from much of the northeast Kharkiv region in early September by a Ukrainian counter-offensive that saw Kyiv retake thousands of square kilometers of territory.

Russian troops also lost territory in the southern region of Kherson as well as the Lyman transport hub in eastern Ukraine.

The setbacks led to growing criticism of the military leadership, including from the elite.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov last week called for the sacking of a top general, while a senior lawmaker – Andrei Kartapolov – urged military officials to stop “lying” about the situation on the ground. battle.


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