The commander of the Russian joint group of forces of the "special operation" in Ukraine has changed, reports the Russian Defense Ministry. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu appointed the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Army General Valery Gerasimov, to command the troops. Sergey Surovikin, who had previously headed the Russian troops in Ukraine, became deputy commander.
Commander of the Ground Forces Oleg Salyukov and Deputy Chief of the General Staff Alexei Kim were Also, were appointed Gerasimov's deputies.
In a press release, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation notes that "raising the level of leadership" of military operations in Ukraine "is associated with expanding the scale of the tasks being solved, the need to organize closer interaction between the types and branches of the armed forces" and "improving the quality of all types of support and effectiveness of the management of troops."
Surovikin, who was nicknamed General Armageddon for his tough approach, was appointed commander of the joint group on October 8. According to the BBC Russian Service, Surovikin's appointment was due to the Kremlin's desire to shift responsibility for the withdrawal of troops from the only regional center that Russia managed to capture during the war – Kherson. However, the decision to retreat was made by Sergey Shoygu after Surovikin's report, and Russian President Putin did not even comment on it.
Whether Gerasimov will be able to remedy the deplorable situation of Russian troops in Ukraine is unclear. The Chief of the Russian General Staff has been repeatedly criticized. Before the New Year, the former "minister of defense" of the self-proclaimed DPR, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov), blamed the entire military, including Putin, for the failures in Ukraine. But most of all, Girkin lashed at Shoygu and Gerasimov. According to Girkin, if they are not replaced, the war will be lost.