Prominent journalist says Russia’s Surovikin dismissed as head of aerospace forces

(Reuters) – A prominent Russian journalist said on Tuesday that General Sergei Surovikin, former commander of Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, had been dismissed as head of the country’s aerospace forces.

There was no official confirmation of the report by Alexei Venediktov, the well-connected former head of the now defunct Ekho Moskvy radio station, but it was cited by some other Russian news outlets on social media.

Venediktov said on his Telegram channel that Surovikin had been removed by official decree, without providing any further details.

The general has not been seen in public since a short-lived mutiny on June 24-24 by the Wagner mercenary group and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin against Russia’s defence establishment.

During the revolt, Surovikin appeared in a video, looking uncomfortable and without insignia, urging Prigozhin to stand down. Since the mutiny, Russian and foreign news reports have said that Surovikin was being investigated for possible complicity in it.

Surovikin earned the nickname “General Armageddon” during Russia’s military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Last October he was placed in charge of Russian military operations in Ukraine, but in January that role was handed to General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff, and Surovikin was made a deputy to Gerasimov.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Gareth Jones)