Gen. Russia’s Sergei Surovikin, a former associate of Wagner’s chief executive who has not been seen in public since the long-running incident last month, is “retiring,” one of the country’s lawmakers said Wednesday, after pressure from a a reporter.
“He is not available right now,” said lawmaker Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Russian Duma’s security committee. he added in a video posted on the Telegraph’s messaging app before running to a reporter.
General Surovikin, the head of the Russian Aerospace Forces, was considered an ally of Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the head of Wagner’s mercenary company, whose soldiers briefly revolted in June in an attempt to overthrow the leadership of the Russian military, before standing down. cooperation with the Kremlin.
In the days since then, strong opinions have surrounded General Surovikin, who skillfully drove the Russian army out of Kherson in the middle of the Ukrainian invasion last year and is often called “General Armageddon” because of his brutal tactics.
The New York Times report that US officials believe that General Surovikin knew about the attack in advance but do not know if he participated. Hours after the uprising began, Russian authorities quickly released a video showing the general calling for Wagner’s troops to stand down. Since then he has not been seen in public.
The comments came days after Russian officials on Monday released the first photo of the country’s top military commander, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, since the crime happened.
In the video, General Gerasimov was receiving a report from the Russian Aerospace Forces, which is commanded by General Surovikin. But the person who gave the changes in the video was the deputy of General Surovikin, Col. Gen. Viktor Afzalov.
General Surovkin’s location is one of the many mysteries that have been going on since the rebellion. Despite the Kremlin’s announcement of an agreement, in which Mr. Prigozhin will leave Russia for Belarus and avoid prosecution, the mercenary tycoon appears to remain in Russia.
The Kremlin revealed it earlier this week Mr. Prigozhin and his senior officials met with President Vladimir V. Putin Five days after the attack, it raises many questions about what they did with the former rebels.
According to the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, at the meeting the fighters pledged their loyalty to Mr. Putin, who discussed “other methods of work and other fighting activities” for the Wagner fighters. Mr. Peskov did not provide any additional information on the agreement.
General Surovikin led the Russian army in Syria while Mr. Prigozhin’s Wagner group fought there. When Moscow appointed General Surovikin to lead the Russian army in Ukraine last year, Mr. Prigozhin praised him as the best leader of the Russian army.
But in January, Putin transferred command of Ukraine’s operations to General Gerasimov, handing leadership to a man Mr. Prigozhin had always viewed as a paper cheat.
Mr. Prigozhin said that his rebellion was aimed at removing General Gerasimov and his partner, Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu. Mr. Shoigu has made public appearances in the days since the uprising, which has been interpreted as a sign of Mr. Shoigu’s acceptance. Putin.