Russian general previously in charge of Ukrainian invasion found dead

Russian general who was in charge of Ukrainian invasion until he was purged by Putin is found dead

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A leading Russian general purged by Vladimir Putin has been found dead.

Colonel General Gennady Zhidko, 58, died after a ‘lengthy illness’ on August 16, 2023, according to Russian online news outlet Readovka.

Zhidko briefly led the invasion of Ukraine as commander of the Southern Grouping of Forces before giving way to General Sergei ‘Armageddon’ Surovikin in October.

The 58-year-old also served as the Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria in 2016, and in 2018 was appointed Commander of the Eastern Military District.

The high-ranking official – who was awarded the highest honorary title, the Hero of Russia, for his service in 2017 – later became deputy minister of defence in 2021.

Gennady Zhidko, Hero of Russia and 2022 Commander of Eastern Military District died at 58

Vladimir Putin congratulates Major General Gennady Zhidko after awarding him the title of the Hero of the Russian Federation at the State Kremlin Palace December 28, 2017

Zhidko was ousted from his role in Ukraine in October 2022 – as commander of Putin’s ‘special military operation’ – after the failure to grab the city of Kharkiv.

He had been seen as in charge since April after taking over from ousted General Alexander Dvornikov, aka the ‘Butcher of Syria’.

The role led to Western sanctions against Zhidko.

Surovikin, who replaced him, was later demoted from the role by chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov.

Surovikin remained his deputy but is believed to have been detained in June amid suspicion he knew of plans to stage a coup against Putin’s regime by Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Little had been seen of Zhidko in recent months.

His death was confirmed by the loyalist governor of Khabarovsk region Mikhail Degtyarev, who expressed his condolences, but there was no official announcement.

The reports did not say where Zhidko died.

The commander was seen as having one of the best military brains in Russia.

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