Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has appointed the new Commander of the Joint Group of Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, who holds the post of Chief of the General Staff of Russia, Russian state news agency TASS reports, citing the ministry.
“The deputy commanders are: the Commander-in-Chief of Aerospace Forces General of the Army Sergei Surovikin, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army General of the Army Oleg Salyukov, as well as the Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Aleksey Kim,” the message reads.
General Surovikin held the post of Commander of the Joint Group of Forces from 8 October. Ten days after his appointment, he made his first public appearance, referring to the situation on the front as “tense”.
General Valery Gerasimov was appointed the Chief of the General Staff of Russia over ten years ago — in November 2012. In December, The New York Times reported that an attempt on the life of Gerasimov had been made during his secret visit to the front. Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych later confirmed that “Gerasimov was in Izium”, and the Ukrainian Arned Forces had carried out a strike against the alleged location of Gerasimov.