War in Ukraine: Russia again replaces its commander-in-chief of the military operation in Ukraine

Another new face at the head of the Russian troops deployed in Ukraine. Valery Gerasimov has been appointed commander-in-chief of the military operation, announced the ministry in a press release (link in English), Wednesday, January 11. The latter, hitherto at the head of the staff, replaces Sergueï Sourovikine who will only have held the post for three months. Valéri Guerassimov will be assisted by Generals Oleg Salioukov, Alexei Kim and his predecessor, Sergei Surovikin. According to the ministry, this change is due to a “mission expansion” to fill in and “need” of one “closer interaction” between the components of the army.

In an analysis published Wednesday evening, the British Ministry of Defense estimates that“This is a significant development in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approach to war management. The deployment of the Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a theater commander is an indicator of the seriousness of the situation facing Russia and a clear acknowledgment that the campaign falls short of Russia’s strategic goals”.

On his side, Ie think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW)based in the United States, imagines that this appointment is part of an attempt to improve “Russian command and control for a decisive military effort in 2023” and in “a political move aimed at strengthening the Russian Defense Ministry” against Wagner’s mercenaries, who criticized the Kremlin’s conduct of the war.

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