A number of pro-Russian Telegram channels said that Russian General Surovikin may have been arrested following PMC Wagner attempted rebellion.
According to Romanov Light Telegram channel, Surovikin was "taken" to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center on Sunday, June 25.
"Surovikin has not been seen since Saturday [June 24]. His whereabouts remain unknown, there is a version saying that he is under interrogation," Rybar Telegram channel wrote on June 28.
There is no confirmation to such reports.
The New York Times wrote citing Western intelligence reports that Prigozhin had informed Surovikin about his plans in advance. According to the publication, Prigozhin intended to capture Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The Federal Security Bureau (FSB) learned about those plans and Prigozhin was forced to improvise, the newspaper wrote.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the NYT publication and said that there would naturally be many speculations on the topic, and the article in The New York Times was an example of that.
After the start of Prigozhin's rebellion, General Surovikin published a video message to PMC Wagner PMC asking Prigozhin to stop. Surovikin's video address appeared on the official Telegram channel of the Russian Defence Ministry.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Colonel General Andrei Yudin denied reports about his and General Surovikin's detention.
"I am on vacation. At home,” Andrey Yudin, who serves as Surovikin's deputy, told ura.ru publication.
Military correspondent Vladimir Romanov wrote on Telegram that Sergei Surovikin was staying at Lefortovo pre-trial detention centre. Romanov later clarified that Surovikin was taken to the pre-trial detention centre on June 25. Afterwards, a number of Telegram channels said that Sergei Surovikin's deputy Andrey Yudin was arrested as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin primarily cooperates with the heads of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said answering a question of whether Putin could trust General Surovikin.
The question was asked in the context of various publications about Surovikin's possible dismissal from the post of deputy commander of the joint group of the Russian troops, TASS reports.
“He (Putin — ed.) is the Supreme Commander, and he cooperates with the Minister of Defence, with the Chief of the General Staff. As for structural units within the ministry, I ask you to contact the ministry,” Dmitry Peskov said.
According to The Financial Times, General Surovikin "faced pressure" because of his friendship with Prigozhin. Surovikin was a link between PMC Wagner and the leadership of the Russian Defence Ministry, the US-based publication said with reference to its sources.
Many in Russia reacted painfully to the disappearance of private military company Wagner from the information field