Putin sacks top commander in Ukraine after three months
Valery Gerasimov will assume command of the invasion force...as multiple media reports have confirmed strategic Russian advances around Bakhmut.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demoted his senior commander in Ukraine, amid a bloody struggle for the eastern city of Bakhmut in Donbas.
Gen. Sergey Surovikin became the overall head of Russian forces in Ukraine in October. He replaced the prior commander, Gennady Zhidko, who himself had replaced Alexander Dvornikov. Valery Gerasimov will assume command of the invasion force and Surovikin will still serve as his deputy, the Kremlin confirmed. Gerasimov has served as Chief of the Russian General Staff since 2012.
Surovikin had built a strong military record in Syria and was widely credited with turning the war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad. His appointment was expected to dramatically improve Russian fortunes.
While he spearheaded a campaign to target critical civilian infrastructure ahead of the winter months, Surovikin was unable to solidify Russian positions west of the Dnieper River and was forced to order the retreat from Kherson, the only provincial capital in Muscovite control. He did, however, successfully withdraw many Russian forces to the eastern shore and solidify the Russian position there.
Valery Gerasimov will assume command of the invasion force. His ascent may be fortunately timed as multiple media reports have confirmed strategic Russian advances around Bakhmut. Intense fighting around the city has been ongoing for months and many worry that its capture could force a more significant Ukrainian withdrawal from the region.