Gen. Sergei Surovikin of Russia, a onetime ally of the Wagner chief who hasn’t been seen publicly since a short-lived mutiny final month, is “taking a relaxation,” one of many nation’s high lawmakers mentioned Wednesday, when pressed by a reporter.
“He’s unavailable proper now,” the lawmaker, Andrei Kartapolov, the top of the Russian Duma’s protection committee, added in a video posted on the Telegram messaging app earlier than hurrying away from the reporter.
Normal Surovikin, the chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, was thought-about to be an ally of Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the top of the Wagner mercenary firm, whose forces mounted the temporary riot in June geared toward toppling Russia’s army management, earlier than standing down in a take care of the Kremlin.
Within the days since then, intense hypothesis has surrounded Normal Surovikin, who skillfully pulled out Russian forces from Kherson amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive final yr and has usually been dubbed “Normal Armageddon” for his ruthless ways.
The New York Instances reported that U.S. officers consider Normal Surovikin had advance information of the mutiny however have no idea whether or not he participated. Within the hours after the riot started, the Russian authorities rapidly launched a video of the overall calling on the Wagner fighters to face down. He hasn’t been seen in public since.
The feedback got here days after the Russian authorities on Monday launched the primary footage of the nation’s high army officer, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, because the riot.
Within the video, Normal Gerasimov was receiving a report from the Russian Aerospace Forces, that are run by Normal Surovikin. However the individual giving the replace within the footage was Normal Surovikin’s deputy, Col. Gen. Viktor Afzalov.
Normal Surovkin’s location is simply one of many many mysteries which have arisen because the mutiny. Regardless of a deal introduced by the Kremlin, beneath which Mr. Prigozhin would depart Russia for Belarus and keep away from prosecution, the mercenary tycoon seems to stay in Russia.
The Kremlin disclosed earlier this week that Mr. Prigozhin and his high commanders met with President Vladimir V. Putin 5 days after the mutiny, elevating many questions on what kind of deal had been struck with the previous insurrectionists.
In line with the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, throughout the assembly the fighters pledged their loyalty to Mr. Putin, who in flip mentioned “additional employment choices and additional fight makes use of” for the Wagner fighters. Mr. Peskov didn’t give any further particulars of what was agreed to.
Normal Surovikin led Russian forces in Syria whereas Mr. Prigozhin’s Wagner group fought there. When Moscow appointed Normal Surovikin to guide Russian forces in Ukraine final yr, Mr. Prigozhin praised him as the most effective commander within the Russian army.
However in January, Mr. Putin transferred command of Ukraine operations to Normal Gerasimov, handing the reins to somebody Mr. Prigozhin recurrently pilloried as an incompetent paper-pusher.
Mr. Prigozhin mentioned his revolt was geared toward eliminating Normal Gerasimov and his counterpart, Protection Minister Sergei Ok. Shoigu. Mr. Shoigu has made many appearances in public within the days because the rebellion, in what has been interpreted as an indication of Mr. Putin’s endorsement.