Vladimir Putin: Top general with close ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin has disappeared

A top Russian general who allegedly knew about the planned Wagner Group mutiny and had close ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin has not been seen since Saturday. Here is all we know.

Vladimir Putin: Top general with close ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin has disappeared
© Photo by Contributor/Getty Images
Vladimir Putin: Top general with close ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin has disappeared

General Sergei Surovikin, the head of the Russian aerospace forces and formerly Moscow’s supreme commander in Ukraine, went missing following an attempted uprising of Wagner Group mercenaries.

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The rebellion was aimed at an ‘incompetent’ Russian military commandment that reportedly denied support and ammunition to Wagner Group. Aborted halfway, it resulted in Yevgeny Prigozhin being exiled to Belarus.

US intelligence claims Surovikin had close ties to Prigozhin and knew of the mutiny beforehand. Here are the details.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is said to underestimate Yevgeny Prigozhin’s popularity amongst Russians due to a poor understanding of online media space.

The 'weakened' leader could also be facing another threat as Liberty of Russia Legion vows to take him down.

General Surovikin might a victim of Vladimir Putin's 'clean-up'

General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s invasion force in Ukraine and the head of its aerospace, has not been seen or heard from since Saturday.

Financial Times reports that he has been detained, citing ‘three people familiar with the matter’.

Surovikin recorded a brief statement calling on Wagner Group fighters to put down their weapons and disappeared shortly after.

Veteran Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov said on Wednesday that Surovikin ‘has not been in touch with his family for three days’ and that his security guards did not answer either.

It remains unclear whether the top general has been charged, or simply detained for interrogation.

US intelligence claims he had close ties to Wagner Group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin who had welcomed his appointment to that post in 2022, and that he knew about the mutiny beforehand.

US sources said they did not know how active Surovikin was in the plot.

The mysterious disappearance comes as Vladimir Putin reportedly launches his post-rebellion ‘clean-up’.

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Who is Sergei Surovikin?

Nicknamed ‘General Armageddon’ for his brutal bombardment tactics in Syria, Surovikin took over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last autumn. His was demoted to the deputy role this spring.

A hardline pro-war general, he was acting as a curator of the Wagner paramilitary contingent fighting on the frontline.

He is also believed to have been an intermediary in a bitter feud between Wagner Group’s Yevgeny Prigozhin and the military establishment in Moscow.

Surovikin too has earlier clashed with the defence ministry’s top officials over Russia’s tactics and strategy in Ukraine, which led to Vladimir Putin demoting him from the head of the Russian invasion after just a few months on the job.

Western sources believe there'll be more disappearances to follow

Vladimir Putin reportedly has begun a clean-up operation following the Wagner Group blow.

As security services are being scrutinised, the President is moving to critics in a bid to 'restore order' and re-establish his dominance.

One Western government official warned ‘there will be more people who will follow’ Surovikin’s fate.

They said:

Putin knew about [Prigozhin’s uprising plans] in advance, as we understand, and so could prepare to a certain extent. He was able to see who did what on that day. And he’s now cleaning the house.

The EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell chimed in:

It remains unclear who was behind this . . . military rebellion. Some generals have been arrested. So I suppose that Putin will be in a cleaning mode, internally. And a more assertive mood.

Read more:

Vladimir Putin could be facing another revolt as leader of Liberty of Russia Legion sends him a threat

Vladimir Putin issues first statement since the failed Wagner rebellion, here's what he said

Sources used:

The Guardian: Russian general who may have known about Wagner mutiny goes missing

The Telegraph: Russian general who may have known about Wagner rebellion has disappeared

Financial Times: Russia detains ‘General Armageddon’ in crackdown on pro-Wagner elites

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