Moscow: “Absolutely ruthless, with little regard for human life and has also brought his violent Syria playbook closer to home”. This is how a media report describes Sergei Surovikin, the new unified Russian battlefield commander in Ukraine. On Monday, just two days after being appointed the first overall commander for the war in Ukraine, Surovikin ordered the launch of a flurry of missiles against civilian targets across Ukraine. The targets included a major road junction next to a university and a children’s playground. This says a lot about his approach to the conflict, reports The Guardian.Also Read – Meta Added To Russia's List Of 'Extremist And Terrorist' Organisations
Surovikin’s “defending” of Moscow’s interests in Syria involved dozens of air and ground attacks on civilian objects and infrastructure, according to a 2020 Human Rights Watch report, which said Russian forces under his command struck Syrian “homes, schools, healthcare facilities, and markets — the places where people live, work, and study”. Also Read – Ukraine Emergency Services Put Entire Country On ‘High Alert’ As Calls For ‘Retaliation’ Grow Louder In Moscow
“I am not surprised to see what happened this morning in Kiev. Surovikin is absolutely ruthless, with little regard for human life,” a former defence ministry official, who has worked with Surovikin, told The Guardian. Also Read – Russia Launches Extremely Lethal, Sophisticated Weapon Against Ukraine; The T-14 Tank | Details Inside
“I am afraid his hands will be completely covered in Ukrainian blood.”
Surovikin first gained notoriety during the 1991 coup d’etat launched by Soviet hardliners, when he led a rifle division that drove through barricades erected by pro-democracy protesters.
Three men were killed in the clash, including one who was crushed, The Guardian reported.
His ruthless reputation grew in 2004 when Russian media reported that a colonel serving under him had killed himself after he received a heated reprimand from Surovikin.
His colleagues have since given him the grim nickname “General Armageddon” for his hardline and unorthodox approach to waging war.
Surovikin’s main challenge in Ukraine, experts say, will be to solve the structural problems plaguing the Russian military as it faces a fierce Ukrainian counter-offensive, The Guardian reported.
Gleb Irisov, a former air force lieutenant who worked with Surovikin up to 2020, said the new general was one of the few people in the army who “knew how to oversee and streamline different army branches”.
Surovikin’s appointment has, however, softened some of the public anger among Russian hardliners, who were growing increasingly impatient with the country’s military failures.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Army General Sergey Surovikin as the overall commander of the Russian forces on Saturday. Before this, Army General Sergey Surovikin has been heading up the ‘South’ grouping of troops in Ukraine and Donbas.
The veteran general has held the position of commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces since 2017. The same year, he was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his role in the military operation in Syria. Before that, he also took part in hostilities in Chechnya, RT reported.
(With agency inputs)