Sergey Surovikin, a Syria campaign veteran, will take command of all operations, the Defense Ministry said
Army General Sergey Surovikin, who has been heading up the ‘South’ grouping of troops in Ukraine and Donbass, will assume overall command of Russian forces, the Defense Ministry announced on Saturday.
“By the decision of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Army General Sergey Surovikin was appointed commander of the joint grouping of the forces in the area of the special military operation,” the ministry’s statement read.
The veteran general has held the position of commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces since 2017. The same year, he was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his role in the military operation in Syria. Before that, he also took part in hostilities in Chechnya.
According to various media reports, Surovikin was given the nickname ‘General Armageddon’ by his colleagues, citing his hardline and unorthodox approach to military operations.
Surovikin took charge of the ‘South’ grouping during Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. In late June, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that his troops had eliminated a major Ukrainian force encircled in the area of Gorskoye, in the Lugansk People’s Republic.
The new appointment comes as last week Russian and allied troops withdrew from the key town of Krasny Liman in the Donetsk People’s Republic to avoid encirclement. The move sparked criticism from a few Russian officials, who rebuked the military for not having organized more solid defenses.