Russia names a new top commander for war effort in Ukraine

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MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA. JUNE 16, 2015. Russia's president Vladimir Putin, Army general Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Russia's first deputy defense minister, and Russia's deputy defense minister, Colonel General Pavel Popov (L-R) attend the opening ceremony of Army 2015 International Military Technical Forum in the Russian Armed Forces' Patriot military culture and leisure park in Kubinka, Moscow Region. Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS,MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA. JUNE 16, 2015. Russia's president Vladimir Putin, Army general Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Russia's first deputy defense minister, and Russia's deputy defense minister, Colonel General Pavel Popov (L-R) attend the opening ceremony of Army 2015 International Military Technical Forum in the Russian Armed Forces' Patriot military culture and leisure park in Kubinka, Moscow Region. Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS . . 16 2015. , , , - ( ) - "-2015" - - "" . / (Photo by Mikhail PochuyevTASS via Getty Images)

Wednesday Russia’s Ministry of Defense switched generals in Ukraine again. General Valery Gerasimov is now the top commander. He will replace General Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed head of the war last October. And Surovikin will become his deputy commander.

 

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This is the third change, in less than a year of a theater-wide commander for Ukraine operations. Experts say the Russian military continues to struggle to coordinate its forces with the Wagner paramilitary unit. And make sure they are being used strategically and not operating at cross purposes.

Surokin’s demotion is a sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be experiencing an internal “power struggle,” according to an assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

It is also a demotion for General Gerasimov, who is currently serving as chief of the Russian General Staff. And is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. Gerasimov is credited with helping to engineer the February invasion.