A regional governor announced, on Wednesday, that Colonel General Gennady Zedko, the supreme commander of the Russian army who was sacked due to Moscow’s exposure to setbacks in the Ukrainian war, had died at the age of 57.
The former commander of the Eastern Military District of Russia and former deputy defense minister of Russia died in Moscow “after a long illness” Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of Khabarovsk Territory. He said In a post on Telegram.
Zhidko served as Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria in 2016, and in 2018 he was appointed commander of the Eastern Military District. Appointed Deputy Minister of Defense in 2021.
He was removed from his post as commander of the Southern Grouping of Forces in October 2022 and replaced by General Sergei Surovkin after only months in the position. His dismissal came as Russia suffered heavy losses in the war.
Newsweek I reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense via e-mail for comment.
Degtyarev did not explain the cause of Zedko’s death.
“I was fortunate enough to know this man,” Degtyarev wrote, “and he was very attentive to the needs of a simple soldier and very hardworking in the service. And it is these commanders who are called commanders.” “In Syria, Gennady Valerievich commanded the headquarters of the grouping of our troops, and in Khabarovsk he held the post of commander of the forces of the Eastern Military District in Moscow – Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia.”
He added, “An eternal memory for the hero, may God have mercy on him.”
Zedko’s sacking last year came as Ukraine launched a successful counteroffensive in the southern city of Kherson and in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, which has seen its forces retake swathes of territory captured by Russia in the war.
At the time, the British Ministry of Defense said, as part of its daily assessment of the war, that the poor performance of the Russian armed forces during its invasion of Ukraine was costly for the Russian military leadership, likely resulting in the dismissal of at least six Russian commanders. Since the start of hostilities in February 2022.
The ministry said at the time: “These dismissals are compounded by the deaths of at least 10 Russian generals on the battlefield in Ukraine. The cumulative effect on command coherence is likely to contribute to Russia’s tactical and operational difficulties.”
Zhidko was awarded the title of Hero of Russia in 2017.
The Kremlin has not yet commented on the news of his death.
Update 08/16/23, 12:39 PM ET: This article has been updated with additional information.
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