By John Ikani
In a dramatic shakeup of his military strategy, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new General to lead the charge in Ukraine, just as tensions between the two nations continue to escalate.
The Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that Gen. Valery Gerasimov will be taking the reins from Sergei Surovikin, who had only been in charge for three months.
Surovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon” by the Russian media for his ruthless tactics, had been leading a campaign marked by the bombing of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and a retreat from the southern city of Kherson.
He had previously led Russian forces in Syria and was accused of overseeing the devastating bombing of Aleppo.
Despite his reputation, Surovikin will now serve as one of Gerasimov’s top deputies, alongside army Gen. Oleg Salyukov and Col. Gen. Alexey Kim, as part of a new “joint group of forces.”
Experts are interpreting Putin’s decision as a sign of growing concern over the progress of the war in Ukraine, as Kyiv warns of a major new offensive on the horizon.
Britain’s Defense Ministry stated that the move is a “significant development” in Putin’s approach to the conflict and an indication that Russia’s campaign is falling short of its strategic goals.
Some analysts suggest that the change in leadership may be driven by political motives rather than a lack of success under Surovikin.
As the one-year anniversary of the war approaches on February 24th, the world watches with bated breath to see who will come out on top in this intense struggle.
Kyiv calls for increased support from Western allies, while Moscow insists that their “special military operation” is moving forward as planned, despite setbacks.
Will Gerasimov’s appointment be the turning point for Russia’s campaign? Only time will tell.