Russia appoints new general to lead offensive in Ukraine after series of setbacks

After a series of military setbacks, which criticized the Russian Moscow army command on Saturday appointed Sergey Surovikin as new general to lead army Ukraine offensive.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Surovikin had been appointed “Commander of the Joint Grouping of Forces in the areas of special military operation”. Kremlin‘s term for the offensive.

The decision was announced after Moscow forces had been pushed back by Kiev in recent weeks into areas that the Kremlin had declared Russian “forever”.

According to the ministry’s website, Surovikin is 55 years old, born in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

Recent setbacks for Russia

> On Saturday, the 19-kilometer-long bridge of the Kerch Strait, an important link between annexed Crimea and the Russian mainland, was damaged by an explosion and fire, partially collapsing the road to the peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the incident, which one official called an “act of terrorism”. Ukraine has not yet officially responded.

> Russian troops were driven from much of the northeastern region of Kharkov in early September in a Ukrainian counter-offensive that allowed Kiev to recapture thousands of square kilometers of territory.

> Russian troops also lost ground in the southern region of Kherson and the Lyman transport hub in eastern Ukraine.

> The setbacks led to increasing criticism of the military leadership, including the elite.

> Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov last week called for the firing of a top general, while a senior lawmaker – Andrei Kartapolov – urged military officials to stop “lying” about the battlefield situation.

(With input from AFP, Bloomberg)

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