A prominent Russian journalist said that General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of the Russian armed forces fighting in Ukraine, dubbed “General Armageddon” by Western media for his brutal tactics in Syria and Ukraine, has been removed as commander of the country’s air force.
There is no official confirmation of the allegations by Alexei Venediktov, former head of the defunct Ekho Moskvy radio station, but he has been quoted by other Russian newspapers.
Venediktov wrote on Telegram on Tuesday that Surovikin had been dismissed by official decree but would remain in the defence ministry.
The general has not been seen in public since a short-lived revolt by a group of Wagner mercenaries in June.
Surovikin and Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin have been linked since they were active in Syria, where Russia has been involved in military operations since 2015 to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad maintain power and his efforts to regain territory after the civil war. .
Surovikin is credited with bolstering Russia’s defences following Moscow’s withdrawal from large parts of Ukrainian territory last autumn after Kiev’s counter-offensive.
Appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to lead all Russian forces in Ukraine, he led a bombing campaign that targeted power plants and other vital infrastructure in the country, but failed to destroy the country’s energy supply.
Putin replaced him in January with Valery Gerasimov and appointed Surovikin as his deputy./RSE/