Sources in the Russian Ministry of Defense have reported the arrest of Deputy Commander of the Russian Joint Group in Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin, on charges of high treason for his alleged involvement with the Wagner Group, according to the Russian newspaper “Moscow Times.” However, his assistant has denied these reports.
The American newspaper “The New York Times” had previously revealed in a report published on Tuesday that Surovikin had prior knowledge of Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plans for the rebellion. The newspaper quoted three US officials as saying that the Russian general sympathized with the Wagner rebellion, but it is unclear whether he participated in supporting it in any form.
Meanwhile, Russian Lieutenant General Andrei Yudin, Assistant to General Sergey Surovikin, denied all the news related to their arrest in Lefortovo Prison east of Moscow, adding that he is currently on his annual leave at his home in Moscow, according to an interview he conducted with the Russian agency “URA” and widely circulated by local media.
Military correspondent Vladimir Romanov had previously posted on his Telegram channel news about Surovikin’s arrest on the 25th of this month during the rebellion operation carried out by the Wagner Group, followed by information about Yudin’s arrest as well.
US officials, who have access to intelligence information on the military rebellion in Russia, have suggested that General Sergey Surovikin, the former top Russian commander of operations in Ukraine, was aware in advance of Prigozhin’s plans for the rebellion against the military leadership. This raises questions about the support the leader of those mercenaries enjoys among high-ranking ranks.
Sergey Surovikin held sensitive and high-ranking positions between 2005 and 2008, serving as the Chief of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate in the Russian Armed Forces. In 2013, he was appointed as the commander of the Eastern Military District, and in 2014, he had his first participation in the war against Ukraine, sending tanks from the Rostov region.
Between March and December 2017, he served as the commander of the Russian forces in Syria. In February 2023, he led the encirclement of Ukrainian armed forces in the cities of Gorskoye and Zolote in Luhansk.
He was appointed as the head of the Russian forces in Ukraine before the mission was transferred to the Chief of the General Staff.