General Sergei Surovikin said he continues to serve Russia amid reports of his dismissal from the Defense Ministry after Yevegny Prigozhin's failed mutiny in late June, the Noviye Izvestia news outlet reported Tuesday.
Surovikin, long considered the main intermediary between the Wagner mercenary outfit and the Russian Defense Ministry, disappeared from public view after Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin staged his short-lived mutiny on June 23-24.
“I serve the fatherland. No more comments,” Surovikin told Noviye Izvestia, which said it spoke with him outside a church in the Moscow region.
Noviye Izvestia published a photograph of what it said was Surovikin wearing civilian clothes with his family on the church's grounds.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the authenticity of the photo.
Surovikin’s remarks came less than a month after the Kommersant business daily published photographs of him in a khaki suit without military insignia at a Defense Ministry delegation’s visit to Algeria.
In early September, another Russian outlet published a photograph of Surovikin in civilian clothing accompanied by his wife.
That same month, the Defense Ministry removed Surovikin’s biography from its website.
Surovikin, known as “General Armageddon” for carpet-bombing tactics deployed during Russia’s intervention in Syria, had gained popularity among pro-war figures who criticized Moscow’s slow progress on the battlefield in Ukraine.
The Kremlin and the Defense Ministry have declined to comment on the reports surrounding the general.