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'Savage' Soviet-Afghan War Veteran Takes Command of Russian Forces in Ukraine

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Russia is appointing a commanding general of its invading forces in Ukraine.

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashekov announced that Army Gen. Sergey Surovikin had been appointed as the joint commander of forces for the “special military operation” in Ukraine on Saturday, according to Russian state media outlet TASS.

Surovikin previously played a key role in Russia’s military intervention in Syria.

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The career Russian military officer began his career in the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s, according to Sky News.

Surovikin served as a Spetsnaz (special forces) officer in the Soviet Army at the time.

One Russia scholar is pointing to Surovikin’s appointment as a dark sign in a war of aggression that’s already resulted in significant loss of life.

Will this change the course of the war?

He’s describing the former Russian commanding general in Syria as a “savage” willing to use chemical weapons.

“The fact Surovikin is a savage and someone who’s notorious for shooting protesters and using chemical weapons in Syria sends out a clear signal, while increasing the intimidation factor,” Professor Luke March of the University of Edinburgh told Sky News.

“They want to show they’re not afraid to use whatever they have available, and here the message is that this guy has no limits.”

Surovikin previously commanded Russian forces in southern Ukraine, according to NBC News.

The Russian government had been previously hesitant to identify an overall battlefield commander of the disastrous “special military operation,” with U.S. intelligence unable to ascertain who was in charge, according to The Hill.

Combat setbacks, such as the loss of the entirety of Kharkiv Oblast and Ukrainian territorial gains near Kherson, may have spurred a Kremlin shakeup of the invasion force’s structure.

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Russia recognized four areas of Ukraine as new territories of the Russian Federation earlier this month, following a series of sham referenda administered by Russian occupation forces and puppet states, according to The New York Times.

A large segment of Russia’s strategically vital bridge to occupied Crimea was destroyed in a blast over the weekend, with Vladimir Putin’s regime blaming the Ukrainian military.

The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was targeted with a series of missile strikes on Monday morning — many of which struck civilian infrastructure.

Russia framed the missile strikes as a response to the Crimean bridge explosion, according to Reuters.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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