Foreign News

Ukraine War : Russia Appoints New Military Commander

The Evangelist edition
October 9, 2022

Russia has appointed a single commander to lead all its forces in Ukraine, the country’s Defense Ministry said Saturday.

Sergei Surovikin will be the first person to be handed sole charge of the campaign since the invasion was launched in February.

The army general, who is also head of Russia’s air force, was placed in charge of Russian troops in southern Ukraine over the summer.

Surovikin has previously led Russian forces in Syria and was accused of overseeing a brutal bombardment that destroyed much of the city of Aleppo.

He will now be responsible for reinvigorating a campaign that has suffered heavy losses and lost thousands of square miles of territory in recent weeks.

The string of battlefield setbacks has led to open criticism of Moscow’s military leadership, heightening the sense of domestic discontent and posing a rare challenge to the Kremlin.

Although no one has yet dared to point the finger at Putin himself, a growing chorus of voices across state media has expressed dismay at the war’s lack of progress in recent days, while nationalist figures have raised the pressure since the breakthroughs by Kyiv’s forces in the south and east.

Surovikin’s appointment follows the reported sacking earlier this week of the commanders of two of Russia’s five military regions. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a strong proponent of the war, openly accused Russia’s top military brass of covering up for a general who he said allowed Kyiv to retake a key city in eastern Ukraine last week.

His appointment came after a huge explosion on a strategically important bridge linking Russia and the Crimea Peninsula brought down sections of road and caused fuel tanker wagons to catch fire on a train.

A day after President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 70th birthday, the Kerch Strait Bridge, which has been a symbol of his illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, was partially destroyed by the blast, which Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement was caused by a truck being “blown up.”

This “resulted in the ignition of seven fuel tanks of a train heading towards the Crimean Peninsula,” the statement said, adding that two sections of road bridge had partially collapsed.

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