January 30, 2023

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The Russian defense minister takes control in Ukraine

Reuters news agency reported that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appointed Gerasimov to his new post on Wednesday.

Gerasimov replaces General Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed commander-in-chief of Russian forces in Ukraine just three months ago.

Here you can read all about the war in Ukraine

The purpose of the latest change in command is to enhance efficiency in handling military operations in Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

– It is a sign that things are not going as they should be, when you give the Chief of Defense responsibility for operations. “Now you have to deal with the situation, to make it work better,” someone says. There may have been problems with coordination between Gerasimov and operations on the ground, Tom Roseth, principal lecturer in intelligence at the Norwegian Defense Academy, tells The Guardian. VG.

– No progress

Surovikin was given the task of commanding forces in Ukraine at the beginning of October last year, in the wake of several Ukrainian counterattacks. But despite the change in leadership at that time, Russia was not able to turn the tide and win the war.

– There has been no progress since his appointment, says senior researcher Tor Bokvall at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI) at NTB.

He also does not believe that Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle will be of great importance to the course of the war.

Weapons help

– I do not think that this is decisive for the war that the Russian general leads as commander-in-chief, says Bukvall.

Instead, it points to factors such as whether Russia would have a more successful mobilization and was able to produce enough ammunition, and whether arms aid to Ukraine would continue.

Basically, he believes that it will be more natural for Russia to bring new forces into the military leadership.

– Gerasimov and Defense Minister Shogo were involved in the conduct of the war from the very beginning. And it didn’t go well, says Bockfull.

“General Armageddon”

Although Sergey Surovikin had now lost his top job in Ukraine, he continued as one of Gerasimov’s second-in-command.

Surovikin is the commander of the Russian Air Force, with a background in Syria, and the Russian media dubbed him “General Armageddon” because he is known for his cruelty.

Both Gerasimov and Defense Minister Shoigu have received a lot of criticism from Russian military bloggers.

One of the most famous, who goes by the name “Rybar” on the Telegram messaging service, didn’t like the latest change. It is believed that Surovikin has now become a scapegoat for several recent Russian setbacks in Ukraine.