Russia Apparently Swapping Commander-in-Chief For Ukraine Invasion

In April, a Western official told Britain’s BBC that Russia had reorganized command of its operations in Ukraine. The new supreme commander for the Russian war of aggression was henceforth General Alexander Dvornikov.

Dvornikov is a particularly experienced commander, having led Russian operations in Syria, among other things. His job was to “improve overall leadership and control,” the BBC official said.

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About two and a half months later, Dvornikov apparently lost his high office again. Russian reserve officer Oleg Marzoev claimed on June 21 that the current commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Sergey Suroviking, would replace Dvornikov as commander in chief.

The investigative journalist group “Bellingcat” had previously reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to replace Dvornikov. Reasons are said to have been his excessive alcohol consumption and a lack of trust in him by the Russian armed forces.

So far, so clear. However, other possible successors and scenarios are mentioned. According to the Ukrainian Conflict Intelligence Team, that Colonel-General Gennady Zhidko, currently head of the military-political directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, is to replace Dvornikov as commander of Ukrainian operations.

The rumor is also circulatingthat Dvornikov might have been promoted and that Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov, the current commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, would take his place.

However, that holds US think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) for “highly unlikely”, since sources close to the Kremlin have already announced Serdyukov’s resignation.

Ukrainian sources even reported on June 17 that the Kremlin fired Serdyukov because of poor performance during the invasion and heavy casualties among the paratroopers.

The ISW assumes that the Kremlin is in the process of reorganizing the command structure for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This would also be indicated by the dismissal of high-ranking officers held responsible for Russia’s failures in Ukraine.

The ISW goes on to say that the appointment and removal of commanders in chief are drastic steps in the midst of a major combat operation. This, in turn, could indicate serious crises within the Russian high command and major problems in the Kremlin’s warfare.

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