Putin replaces commander of war in Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday appointed a new top commander of his forces in Ukraine in another shake-up of military leadership.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Gen. Valery Gerasimov will be the next commander of the Joint Group of Forces in Ukraine, replacing Gen. Sergey Surovikin, who was appointed to the position in October.

In a Telegram post, the Defense Ministry cited “the need to organize closer interaction” between branches of the armed forces and for “improving the quality of all types of support and the effectiveness” of commanding Russian troops.

Surovikin was demoted to a deputy overseeing aerospace forces under Gerasimov.

Gerasimov has served as the chief of general staff of Russia’s armed forces since 2012. He is a veteran commander of the second Chechen war and is considered a key figure in Russian military planning.

Since launching its invasion of Ukraine last February, Russia has faced heavy losses and numerous setbacks in the war.

Surovikin oversaw campaigns in Syria and was known for his ruthlessness. He was appointed over the fall to help Russia make more headway in the war in Ukraine.

Russian forces are currently engaged in deadly fighting with Ukraine in the eastern region of the country.

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