Vladimir Putin's new right-hand man has a history of "totally ruthless" violence and may even be responsible for today's deadly bombings in Ukraine.
General Sergei Surovikin, 55, was appointed "commander of the Joint Grouping of Forces in the areas of the special military operation" on Saturday (October 8).
Just days later (October 10) a devastating swathe of explosions hit multiple Ukrainian cities, killing at least 11 people – although the real death toll is likely much higher.
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Surovikin has a fearsome reputation and little regard for civilian life, experts claim, with the British Defence Ministry claiming his career “has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality".
The General even has a number of criminal controversies to his name after he was accused of ordering troops to open fire on a group of pro-democracy protestors in Moscow as the Soviet Union fell in 1991, killing three people.
The blood-hungry commander spent six months behind bars but was later released without trial.
He was given another prison sentence after he was found guilty of stealing and selling weapons in 1995 but was let off thanks to allegations he was framed.
Surovikin was also entrusted by Putin to command his troops in during Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war in September 2015, where he was accused of overseeing a brutal series of bombings that destroyed a large portion of the city of Aleppo, landing him on Human Rights Watch's list of commanders "who may bear command responsibility for violations".
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Despite his possible war crimes, his work in Syria earned him the Kremlin’s highest medal, the "Hero of Russia".
Today's bombings, which hit the cities of Kyiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv and Ternopil, were some of the worst seen since the war in Ukraine began back in February.
The onslaught hit important infrastructure in Ukraine's capital, leaving four regions without electricity.
A Ukraine military source reportedly said: "We were expecting it. Europeans should have been expecting it. It’s not February and out of blue.
"Where’s the reaction? Putin is looking for a signal. Looking to see if someone will stand up and lead. Where is leadership?
"It’s as if people are waiting on Biden.”
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