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Russia Demotes ‘General Armageddon’ After Battlefield Failure

After a series of battlefield setbacks and an inability to turn the war in Moscow’s favour, Russia replaced Sergei Slovikin as head of the Ukrainian campaign just three months later.

Slovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon,” will be succeeded by Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s top military officer. Surovikin remains as one of his representatives.

Mods — second since launch all-out invasion February comes after Russian forces stepped into a Ukrainian counterattack, sparking a domestic backlash over a deadly attack on newly mobilized conscripts in eastern Ukraine’s barracks on New Year’s Day.

When he was appointed to the top post in October, the 56-year-old Slovikin turned around Russia’s flagging offensive through escalation and brutal tactics developed while leading the country’s forces in Syria. was expected.

But in those three months, Russia lost control of the southern town of Kherson. Kherson, the only regional capital in Ukraine that could be captured, struggled to provide her 300,000 soldiers with basic equipment, accommodation and modern weapons. conscription in September.

together fatal military mistake The loss of territory, for example, where hundreds of conscripts are housed in one building in the town of Makyivka, where dozens were killed in a rocket attack in Kyiv, has come under harsh pressure from the pro-war Russian right. leading to accusations.

Surovikin also oversaw intensive strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, regularly cutting power to cities, but without upsetting the front-line balance of power.

Gerasimov, Russia’s 67-year-old Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Defense Minister, will take over as leader of the Joint Forces Group in the zone of “special military operations,” the name given to the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow. Entering the 11th month.

Ground Forces Commander Oleg Salyukov and Deputy Chief of the General Staff Alexei Kim were also appointed as Gerasimov’s deputies.

The Russian defense ministry said Gerasimov’s appointment was an “elevation of the leadership position” of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a move “related to increasing the scale of the tasks to be accomplished.”

These tasks included “the need to organize closer co-operation between the departments and services of the armed forces” and “improve the quality of all kinds of provision and the effectiveness of the management of the armed forces”.

Since March, when Russia recorded its greatest gains, Moscow’s forces have seized and occupied less than half the territory after suffering heavy losses in Kharkov in the northeast and Kherson in the south.

Russian pro-war analysts were skeptical that the reorganization would solve problems facing the Russian military, including inflexible hierarchical leadership, lack of equipment, and inadequate supplies.

“Moving parts doesn’t change the price. That’s the only thing that can be said about Gerasimov’s appointment,” writes Rybar, a pro-Kremlin military analysis channel with more than one million subscribers on Telegram. . Run by a former Ministry of Defense press secretary.

Russia’s closest victory on the battlefield since July is the current advance in the salt mining town of Soledar near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

But the battle also revealed the rift dividing Russian forces in Ukraine.

Evgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner’s group of private military contractors, has publicly claimed that it is his subordinates, not the regular army, that are fighting in the area. recently shared a video criticizing the lack of equipment of Gerasimov and general staff.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that the Russian military is also fighting with the Solider. “

A source close to Russia’s Ministry of Defense said the move to appoint Gerasimov as the leader of Russia’s regular army in Ukraine reflected the organized struggle at the heart of the war effort rather than a new direction.

“They’re at a dead end and don’t know what to do, so they’re just shuffling the deck,” the person said. “They are all old men approaching 70 and don’t know how modern warfare works.”

The person likened the adaptation to a classic Russian parable about a group of forest animals forming an incompetent instrumental quartet and seeking advice from a nightingale. There is no difference. You will never be a musician. “

However, pro-Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov said Slovikhin would retain an important leadership role on the ground as Gerasimov would remain in his Moscow office.

But the Defense Ministry hoped to reduce bureaucratic delays by devolving command of operations in Ukraine to the army’s chief of staff.

“The Ministry of Defense hopes this will allow the military to dramatically increase the speed of decision-making,” wrote Markov. The ministry may have been inspired by Wagner’s group. , he said.

“Thus, the successes of Wagner and Prigogine force the Russian army to fight differently in a more modern way,” Markov wrote on social media.

https://www.ft.com/content/3fe90260-485c-433b-9a63-2660951d0bd2 Russia Demotes ‘General Armageddon’ After Battlefield Failure

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