Senior Russian Commanders Detained, Including 'Missing' Surovikin, After Wagner Mutiny: Report

Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who was the deputy commander of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, has not been seen in public since Wagner's short-lived mutiny of June 23-24. There were earlier, unconfirmed reports of his arrest and even speculation that he had quietly coordinated with Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin during the uprising. Some reports have suggested that he's dead, but that has remained on the level of unconfirmed rumor. 

But more information was revealed this week when a reporter asked one of Russia's top lawmakers, Andrei Kartapolov, over Surovikin's whereabouts. The general is "taking a rest," Kartapolov - who serves as the head of Duma’s defense committee - said on video. "He is unavailable right now," the lawmaker, also said, before hurrying quickly away.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Thursday that at least 13 senior military officers have been detained in the wake of the Wagner uprising. Further, 15 others have been reportedly fired or suspended.

"The detentions are about cleaning the ranks of those who are believed can’t be trusted anymore," WSJ wrote, based on its sources, as they are suspected of having ties to Wagner.

The report further says he has been undergoing "repeated interrogations" and details the following: 

In that role, Surovikin introduced a new tactic aimed at degrading Ukraine’s power grid and other critical infrastructure with missile strikes. In January, he was replaced by Gerasimov, one of Prigozhin’s main rivals.

Surovikin wasn’t being held in a detention center, but was undergoing repeated interrogations as investigators probed what role, if any, he played in the uprising, the people familiar with the situation said.

The report said that Surovikin is likely to be released after President Putin "decides how to handle the fallout from the mutiny." But already some among his top staff have been booted from their military posts, including Surovkin’s deputy Andrei Yudin and the deputy head of military intelligence Vladimir Alexeyev.

senior russian commanders detained including missing surovikin after wagner mutiny report
Gen. Sergei Surovikin

The WSJ report also strongly suggested that there are still dissenting voices and deep cracks within command ranks, describing that another Russian lawmaker (and retired general) Andrei Gurulyov has "released a recording late Wednesday of the commander of Russia’s 58th Combined Arms Army, Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, explaining to his troops why he was relieved from commanding the unit, which is fighting on the front in Ukraine near Zaporizhzhia." It included the following

General Popov described a "difficult situation with the senior leadership," which led to him being relieved after he brought up problems on the battlefield, including the lack of counter battery fire and artillery reconnaissance stations, as well as deaths and injuries the force is suffering from enemy artillery fire.

General Popov appeared to take aim at General Gerasimov without naming him, saying that while Ukrainian forces couldn’t break through his army unit from the front, "our senior commander hit us from the rear, treacherously and vilely decapitating" the army unit "at the most difficult and tense moment."

So what can be described as Russian military confusion and distrust at the highest levels might yet be further persisting, also as there's been mixed messaging concerning the fate of Prigozhin himself, who appears to be back in Russia, and reportedly living in freedom. 

Likely, Moscow is seeking to keep a tight lid on just who it has in custody among senior commanders, also given this could continue to negatively impact morale among its forces in Ukraine.

Authored by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge July 13th 2023