RIGA - The appointment of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov as the commander of the Russian troops fighting in Ukraine will not bring any special success to Russia, said Janis Kazocins, adviser to the President of Latvia on national security issues, former director of the Constitutional Protection Bureau, told TV3 this morning.
He emphasized that the Russian forces are divided between several groups. For example, Yevheny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner military mercenary group, has openly criticized Gersimov, so it is unlikely that he will now obey Gerasimov's instructions, Kazocins explained, adding that the so-called "Kadyrovites" and "Rosgvardia", whose commander is Viktor Zolotov, are also fighting in Ukraine, ands he is absolutely loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and "all these factions are now looking to see who can emerge as the strongest."
The adviser to the President thinks that in Russia "dissatisfaction is building at the very top, or with what is happening at the top, and therefore Gerasimov is also now delegated to go and put everything in order, as if he will suddenly be able to put everything in order with a magic wand, but if he can't, then we know who is to blame".
In general, the replacement of the current commander of the Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, with Gerasimov seems very interesting to Kazocins, because "Sorovikin is undoubtedly an abomination, but he is a very competent general". This is evidenced by the withdrawal from Kherson led by Sorovikin, which Kazocins described as one of the most difficult operations of this war, but as a result, the Ukrainians were not left with a large amount of abandoned Russian equipment and the best Russian units were preserved.
"Surovikin saved 20,000 to 30,000 troops [by withdrawing from Kherson], but this, of course, does not suit President Putin, he needs to show that he has done something in one year, and that is why they are fighting like this," explained Kazocins.
The AFP news agency reports that Russia has again replaced its military commander in Ukraine, putting army chief Valery Gerasimov in charge of its forces in the conflict, the Russian defense ministry said Wednesday.
"Army General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, has been appointed Commander of the Joint Grouping of Troops (Forces)," the ministry said.
Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russia's forces in Ukraine for the past three months, will become Gerasimov's deputy, the ministry said.