The Russian defence ministry said Sergey Surovikin had been appointed “commander of the Joint Grouping of Forces in the areas of the special military operation”, using the Kremlin’s term for the offensive.
After a series of military setbacks, which drew criticism of the Russian Army’s leadership, Moscow on Saturday named Sergey Surovikin as a new general to lead the Ukraine offensive.
The Russian defence ministry said Surovikin had been appointed “commander of the Joint Grouping of Forces in the areas of the special military operation”, using the Kremlin’s term for the offensive.
The decision was announced after Moscow’s forces 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, born in Siberia’s Novosibirsk.
Recent setbacks for Russia
On Saturday, the 19-kilometre Kerch Strait Bridge, a key link between annexed Crimea and the Russian mainland, was damaged in an explosion and fire that caused the partial collapse of the road running to the peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the incident, which was called a “terrorist act” by one official. Ukraine hasn’t commented officially.
Russian forces were driven out of much of the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September by a Ukrainian counter-offensive that allowed Kyiv to retake thousands of square kilometres of territory.
Russian troops also lost territory in the southern Kherson region 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 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.
(With inputs from AFP, Bloomberg)