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The firing of a top Russian general may have been part of a desperate campaign from the Kremlin to gain an advantage in the Ukraine war, reports claim.
Sergey Surovikin, a former commander of the Russian army dubbed “General Armageddon” for his ruthless war tactics, lost his job as the head of the country’s aerospace forces earlier this week.
State-run press agency RIA Novosti has claimed that Surovikin was among at least 30 more Russian officials who were secretly VIP members of Wagner.
But according to Rebekah Koffler, a strategic military intelligence analyst, a former senior official at the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of “Putin’s Playbook,” Surovikin’s firing could be part of a disinformation operation from Moscow.
She told Fox News Digital: “What struck me about the Surovikin story is that it originated from a Russian source, and then, within minutes, it spread all across major Russian media like wildfire.
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“Remember, most if not all Russian media are controlled by the state.
Surovikin’s sacking was first reported by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Its report cited an “unnamed but informed source who allegedly told the outlet that Surovikin had been “relieved of his post”, only to be replaced by Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov, head of the main staff of the air force.
The unnamed source was quoted as saying: “The ex-Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces of Russia, Sergey Surovikin, has now been relieved of his post.
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“Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov, Chief of the General Staff of the Aerospace Forces, is temporarily acting as Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces.”
Koffler added: “This story has the hallmarks of a Russian tradecraft called ‘information confrontation,’ which is intended to confuse the opponent, divert his attention and stretch his resources, especially our intelligence resources that would otherwise be focused on the real Russian target that matters – today, it’s the battlefield in Ukraine and Putin’s decision-making process, plans and intentions.
Surovikin had taken the place of leading Russian General Gennady Zhidko, 58, earlier this year.
This week, Zhidko was found dead after struggling with a “lengthy illness”.
Zhidko took over the management of the Russian Army in Ukraine two months after the invasion began in February 2022.
He lost the job to Surovikin less than six months later after he failed to deliver on Putin’s goal of conquering the city of Kharkiv.
Surovikin has not been seen in public since June.
Documents leaked back in June revealed that Surovikin had allegedly been a secret VIP member of the mercenary Wagner Group.
He had been assigned a personal VIP Wagner registration number as early as 2018, a document obtained by the Dossier Center indicated.
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