Prigozhin Listed as Passenger on Plane That Crashed, Killing All Aboard: Latest Updates and Video

Prigozhin Listed as Passenger on Aircraft That Crashed, Killing All Aboard: Newest Updates and Video

Gen. Sergei Surovikin, a former commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine was faraway from his submit because the chief of Russia’s Air Drive, in what seems to be Kremlin’s most public motion in opposition to these related to the armed insurrection of the mercenary warlord Yevgeny V. Prigozhin in June.

The low-key crackdown in response to the mutiny, essentially the most drastic menace to President Vladimir V. Putin in his 23-year rule, highlights the Russian chief’s cautious crisis-management type. Thus far, Normal Surovikin is the one senior official with ties to Mr. Prigozhin confirmed by Russian state media to have been demoted or in any other case punished in its aftermath.

Some Wagner fighters have relocated to Belarus, the place officers have stated the mercenaries are coaching Belarusian troops; others stay energetic within the Central African Republic, Mali and elsewhere in Africa, the place they’ve helped prop up authoritarian leaders loyal to Moscow.

Mr. Prigozhin on Monday launched a short video message on-line for the primary time within the mutiny’s aftermath, hinting that he was in Africa, despite the fact that the video recording’s timing and placement had been unclear. Wearing fatigues and holding an assault rifle, he stated that Wagner was “making Russia even higher, on all continents, and Africa much more free.”

Normal Surovikin has not been seen in public for the reason that insurrection and his whereabouts has remained a thriller. In July, Andrei Kartapolov, the pinnacle of the protection committee of Russia’s decrease home of Parliament, stated that Normal Surovikin was “taking a relaxation” in response to questions from a reporter.

On Wednesday, RIA Novosti, a Russian state information company, stated that “the ex-commander in chief of the Aerospace Forces of Russia, Sergei Surovikin has now been relieved of his submit.” It stated that Col. Gen. Viktor Afzalov, chief of the air drive’s common workers, had been named because the appearing commander.

“Surovikin was relieved of his submit in reference to the switch to a different job. He’s now on a brief trip,” the RIA report added, citing a report from the Russian information outlet RBC.

Analysts have described Normal Surovikin, known as “Normal Armageddon” for his ruthless techniques, as a brutally efficient chief in a Russian navy that even many Russian cheerleaders of the conflict have described as troubled by incompetence in its command construction. However his hyperlinks to Mr. Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary group, which took over a Russian metropolis and commenced a march on Moscow in its transient mutiny, appeared to precipitate his fall from grace.

U.S. officers imagine that Normal Surovikin had advance data of Mr. Prigozhin’s insurrection. Within the hours after the mutiny started, the Russian authorities rapidly launched a video of the overall calling on the Wagner fighters to face down.

Rumors have been circulating amongst Russia’s navy bloggers, a few of whom have shut ties to Russian officers and the navy, that Normal Surovikin had been beneath home arrest for the reason that failed mutiny.

The studies about Normal Surovikin’s firing are “removed from information for individuals within the know,” wrote Mikhail Zvinchuk, a well-liked pro-war Russian blogger who posts beneath the moniker Rybar on the messaging app Telegram. He added that Normal Surovikin misplaced his job instantly after Mr. Prigozhin’s insurrection.

Normal Surovikin was appointed to steer what Russian officers describe as its “particular navy operation” in Ukraine in October 2022 earlier than being relieved of that job in January. In 2015, he commanded Russia’s forces in the course of the nation’s intervention in Syria, and he was the pinnacle of the Russian air drive from 2017 onward.

In his three-month stint because the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Normal Surovikin helped stabilize Russia’s flailing conflict effort. Within the fall, he oversaw what analysts described as a professionally managed withdrawal of Russian troops from the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Kherson, the place they had been practically encircled final fall and lower off from provides.

He’s additionally believed to have spearheaded the development of Russia’s daunting community of defensive traces within the territory it occupies in Ukraine, which have challenged Kyiv’s counteroffensive.

Normal Surovikin’s alternative, Normal Afzalov, has been chief of the Air Drive’s common workers since 2018, in keeping with Russian state media, having risen by way of the ranks. He was “immediately concerned in planning and organizing” the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in keeping with Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Inside Ministry, in a post on the social media platform X, previously often called Twitter.

Normal Afzalov had beforehand served because the interim commander of Russia’s air drive whereas Normal Surovikin led Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine. Suspicions that Normal Afzalov had changed Normal Surovikin had been raised in July, when the previous was proven in official video footage delivering an air drive report back to Normal Valery V. Gerasimov, Russia’s prime navy officer.

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