Sergei Surovikin, formerly the commander of the Joint Group of Forces, the Commander-in-Chief of Russian Aerospace Forces has been interacting with private military company Wagner for about a year when performing combat missions in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine.
Chairman of the presidium of Officers of Russia all-Russian organisation, Major General Sergei Lipovoy, said that General Surovikin was still the most experienced military leader.
"He has been interacting with PMC Wagner during the special military operation throughout the year. He is the unequivocal link at this point. One needs to take into account the fact that Yevgeny Prigozhin (PMC Wagner founder — ed.) knows Surovikin well as an experienced commander, and he trusts him,” Lipovoy said.
Surovikin started cooperating with PMC Wagner when serving the commander of the united group of troops in the special operation.
In April, entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of PMC Wagner, said that Surovikin took part in the decision to start fighting for Bakhmut (Artemovsk).
Sergei Surovikin served as the Commander of the Joint Group of Forces of the Northern Military District from October 8, 2022 to January 11, 2023. During his service, the Russian forces started conducting massive missile strikes on Ukraine's infrastructure.
The Russian Armed Forces returned to strategic positions of the first "Surovikin line” east of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia direction of hostilities