Russian general detained over Wagner mutiny reportedly released

The former commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin, has been released from custody after his detention in the wake of the Wagner Group mutiny in June, The New York Times reports, citing two US officials and a source in the Russian Defence Ministry.

Known for being an ally to the late Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, Surovikin, whose brutal tactics in Syria earnt him the nickname “General Armageddon”, disappeared from sight following the collapse of Prigozhin’s mutiny in late June.

Photo: Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak

Photo: Russian journalist Ksenia Sobchak

Surovikin’s release was first reported on Monday, when an alleged photograph of the freed general was shared online. It’s unclear whether Surovikin will face restrictions on his movements, according to the NYT sources. Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu declined to comment when asked by a journalist on Monday whether Surovikin was currently under investigation.

Surovikin was relieved of his duties as the commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces in late August, and while he retains his military rank on paper, his career is now essentially over, according to the NYT.

US officials believe Surovikin knew in advance about the Wagner mutiny but failed to alert the Kremlin. Several hours after the insurrection began, footage of General Surovikin calling on Wagner mercenaries to stand down was shown on Russian television.

Prigozhin and Surovikin got to know each other when Wagner mercenaries were hired to serve in Syria as part of the Russian forces Surovikin commanded. Prigozhin praised the appointment of Surovikin to command Russian forces in Ukraine in October last year, calling him a “legendary figure” and the most capable commander in the Russian army. However, Surovikin lasted just a few months in post before he was dismissed by Putin and replaced by General Valery Gerasimov, the commander of the General Staff.

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