Moscow on Saturday has appointed a new general to lead the Ukraine offensive following Russia suffered a series of army setbacks that targeted criticism of the army’s leadership.
The defence ministry of Russia said General Sergei Surovikin had been appointed “commander of the Joint Grouping of army in the areas of the special military operation,” using the Kremlin’s term for the offensive.
The statement was announced after Moscow’s army were pushed back by Kyiv in recent weeks in the regions the Kremlin had declared Russian “forever.”
As per the ministry’s website, Surovikin is 55, who is born in Siberia’s Novosibirsk.
Moreover, he has combat experience in the 1990s wars in Tajikistan and Chechnya as well as, more recently, in Syria, where Russia intervened in 2015 on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Until now Surovikin led the “South” forces in Ukraine, according to a defense ministry report in July.
Moreover, the actual name of his predecessor has never been officially disclosed, but some Russian media added it was General Alexander Dvornikov, also a general of the Second Chechen War as well as Russian commander in Syria.
The plan— unusually made public by Russia— comes following a series of crushing defeats suffered by the Russian military in Ukraine.
At the same time, Russian forces were driven out of much of the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September by a Kyiv counter-offensive that has allowed Ukraine to retake thousands of square kilometres of territory.
Furthermore, the Russian army also lost territory in the southern region of Kherson as well as the Lyman transport hub in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the setbacks led to growing criticism of the military leadership, including from the elite.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called for the firing of a top general last week, while a senior lawmaker — Andrei Kartapolov — urged military officials to stop “lying” about the situation on the battlefield.