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Iran Press TV

Russia appoints top general as new head of military operation in Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 11 January 2023 7:08 PM

The chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, General Valery Gerasimov, has been appointed to lead Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, the country's defense ministry said in a statement on Wednesday

The former commander of military operations, General Sergey Surovikin, will serve as his deputy.

The ministry said the need to "raise the operation command level" was linked to an "increased scale of the combat missions," and the need for closer coordination between the various services and branches of the armed forces.

The action will also improve the logistics support and the effectiveness of the command of the Russian forces in Ukraine. Russia's Defense Ministry has already selected Surovikin, the commander of the Russian Air Force, to lead the effort.

Gerasimov is known as one of the top military commanders and a well-known strategist who is revered by Ukraine's top commander Valery Zaluzhny. In September, Zaluzhny told TIME that he learned a lot from Gerasimov.

"I read everything he ever wrote... He is the smartest of men, and my expectations of him were enormous," the Ukrainian general admitted at the time.

Gerasimov has visited the forces fighting in Ukraine several times to improve coordination. In December, Kiev admitted that it had attempted to assassinate Gerasimov during one of his unannounced visits in April 2022, despite US objections.

Previously, the New York Times had announced in a report that Ukrainian forces shelled the positions where Gerasimov was believed to be. Moscow, however, has never officially confirmed that the general visited the troops.

In the West, Gerasimov is said to be the author of the 'Gerasimov Doctrine.' The term was coined in 2013 by Mark Galeotti the author of Russia watcher and was attributed by the Western media to a unique Russian hybrid warfare system, a combination of military and civilian methods.

However, Moscow has never confirmed the existence of such a doctrine. Gerasimov himself said in 2019 that it is the West that is using "hybrid warfare" methods against Russia.

Two other generals were also appointed as Gerasimov's deputies.

One of them is the commander of the Russian Ground Forces, Army General Oleg Salyukov, who is an experienced professional officer who served as a battalion commander and head of the Far East military region before becoming deputy general staff and then commander of the ground forces.

Another is Colonel General Aleksey Kim, deputy chief of the general staff of the army. He previously headed the Combined Arms Academy of the Russian Armed Forces and is known as an experienced military expert. He is also a university professor and holds a degree in military science.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev's failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow's recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

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