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UK Defense Ministry: Any Kremlin's moves against Surovikin likely to cause division

by Martin Fornusek July 5, 2023 10:24 AM 2 min read
General Sergei Surovikin, Nov. 3, 2021. (Photo by Mikhail Metzel/ AFP via Getty Images
Sergei Surovikin, deputy commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with top military officials in Sochi on Nov. 3, 2021. (Photo: Mikhail Metzel/ AFP via Getty Images)
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General Sergei Surovikin, the former top commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, has not been seen in public since the Wagner Group's rebellion on June 23-24, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote in its intelligence update on July 5.

While reports of his arrest over supporting the insurrection remain unconfirmed, any steps against him are likely to cause division in Russian military circles, the report explained.

Despite Surovikin's "brutal" reputation in the West, the U.K. ministry noted that he is "one of the more respected senior officers" in the Russian Armed Forces.

The Moscow Times wrote on June 29 that Surovikin has been arrested due to siding with the Wagner Group's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin during the uprising. This information remains unconfirmed, as other media reported later he had been only interrogated and subsequently released.

As the U.K. Defense Ministry noted, Surovikin is not the only Russian general missing from the public eye.

Deputy Defense Minister General Yunus-bek Yevkurov, who has been recorded leading "negotiations" with Prigozhin in then Wagner-occupied Rostov, was noticeably absent from the ministry's leadership televised appearance on July 3, the intelligence commented.

The report summarizes that the Wagner rebellion most likely worsened the existing fault lines within Russia's national security community.

Following mutiny, Russian state media downplays Wagner’s battlefield results
In a recent broadcast, Russian state-owned First Channel made comparisons of the battles of Bakhmut and Mariupol, saying that Mariupol was, in fact, more important than Bakhmut, and taken much faster – in 71 days, as opposed to the 10-month-long siege of Bakhmut.
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