Russia’s top military commander in Ukraine Valery Gerasimov on Monday made his first public appearance following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed mutiny last month.
Gerasimov was shown in a Defense Ministry video listening to reports and instructing subordinates on Russia’s response to increased Ukrainian missile attacks on Russian territory and annexed Crimea.
“I’m tasking the Aerospace Forces and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) to continue systematic work on identifying the storage and launch sites of missiles and the enemy’s other weapons in order to plan preemptive attacks,” Gerasimov said.
The video comes just days after Russian military bloggers claimed Gerasimov had been dismissed amid the fallout of Wagner’s June 24 mutiny.
Both his appearance and that of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after the armed revolt suggest that President Vladimir Putin ignored Prigozhin’s demand for their dismissal.
Putin appointed Gerasimov as Russia’s top commander in Ukraine in January.
His predecessor, General Sergei Surovikin, has not been seen in public since Prigozhin agreed with the Kremlin to end his rebellion in exchange for dropped mutiny charges.
Monday’s Defense Ministry video showed Surovikin’s deputy Viktor Afzalov reporting to Gerasimov on the Russian Aerospace Forces by video link.
Surovikin, Gerasimov’s deputy, was conspicuously absent at the meeting, although the faces of other participants — besides Afzalov's — were blurred out.
Surovikin had overseen a campaign of deadly drone and missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and the withdrawal from the city of Kherson in the three months of his command.