MOSCOW: General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russian military operations in Ukraine, has been arrested over his alleged involvement in the short-lived rebellion staged by the Wagner mercenary group last weekend, a local media report said. Although there was no official confirmation of his arrest, The Moscow Times reported, citing sources close to the Defence Ministry, that "the situation with him (Surovikin) was not 'OK.". The General, who is also Commander of the Aerospace Forces, has not been seen in public since June 24, the day when Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed rebellion against the country's military leadership.
One of the sources told The Moscow Times that the arrest was carried out "in the context of Prigozhin". "Apparently, he (Surovikin) chose Prigozhin's side during the uprising." When asked about the General's whereabouts, the source replied, "We are not even commenting on this information through our internal channels."
Earlier on Wednesday, pro-war military blogger Vladimir Romanov said that Surovikin was detained on June 25, a day after the mutiny, and claimed that the General was being held in Moscow's Lefortovo detention centre. In a Telegram post, Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the shuttered Ekho Moskvy radio station, said that Surovikin had not been in contact with his family for three days and that his guards were also not responsive, The Moscow Times reported.
On June 24, mercenary troops led by Prigozhin took over the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, marched on Moscow, and shot down Russian military helicopters and a plane on their way, the BBC reported. Their mutiny was later aborted after a deal was struck with the help of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Russian authorities have said that the Wagner will be disarmed, but its members will escape prosecution over their short-lived rebellion. (IANS)