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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has removed Army General Sergey Surovikin from his post of Air Force Commander, Russian media reported on Aug. 22. The general was also the deputy commander of the Russian invasion forces in Ukraine.
RBK reported that a source at the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that Surovikin was no longer Air Force Commander and is “currently on a short vacation.”
However, an official decree on the decision has not yet been made public.
Surovikin has not been seen in public since the Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin's failed rebellion against the Kremlin on June 23-24.
Ukraine's military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusov said on July 18 that Surovikin had been effectively removed from his position but his fate remained undecided.
The military intelligence representative commented on television that infighting among Russia's elite began after the Wagner Group rebellion, during which Surovikin lost his position.
Multiple media reports claimed that the general had been arrested over siding with Prigozhin in the insurrection and is being interrogated by Russian security services.
Moscow has not confirmed these claims. State Duma Deputy Andrey Kartapolov only commented that Surovikin is currently "resting" and "so far unavailable."
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, Surovikin's arrest would likely cause tensions among the Russian military leadership due to the general's popularity in the armed forces.
The general led Russian forces in Ukraine from October 2022 until his replacement by Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov in January 2022.