The head of the Russian General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, has been appointed to lead Moscow’s joint forces group in Ukraine, the defense ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The former commander of the military operation, Army General Sergey Surovikin, has been made his deputy.
The need to “raise the operation command level” was linked to an “increased scale of the combat missions,” and the need for closer coordination between various services and branches of the armed forces, the ministry said.
The move will also improve logistics support and command effectiveness for the Russian forces in Ukraine, it added.
It comes just around three months after the defense ministry appointed Surovikin, the Russian Air Force commander, to lead the effort.
Gerasimov is known as one of Russia’s top military commanders and a renowned strategist, who has earned the respect of Kiev’s top commander, Valery Zaluzhny. Back in September, Zaluzhny told Time that he had “learned from Gerasimov.”