According to two US officials and a person close to the Russian Defense Ministry, mercenary leader Yevgeny V. A high-ranking Russian general who had been detained after Prigozhin’s rebellion was released.
General, Sergey Surovykin, Mr. Seen as an ally of Prigogine and nicknamed “General Armageddon” for his brutal tactics in Syria, the mercenary leader and members of his Wagner organization disappeared from public view in June. Russian military leadership.
U.S. officials say they told the general in advance of the uprising, and hours after it began, Russian officials released a video showing an uncomfortable-looking General Surovikin Wagner calling on the militants to stand down.
Although General Surovikhin appears to have been released from formal custody, US officials said it was unclear whether there were any restrictions on his movement or other restrictions imposed by Russian authorities.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that he could not comment on whether General Surovikin was under investigation.
General Surovikin Mr. Prigozhin was released days after his death in a plane crash late last month, a person close to the Russian Defense Ministry spoke on condition of anonymity, as did U.S. officials, to discuss a sensitive topic.
The general has so far retained his post and is technically still an officer in the army, but he no longer has career prospects, the person said. Russian state media reported last month that General Surovikhin had been formally removed as head of Russia’s space forces.
On Monday, General Surovikin appeared for the first time since the June uprising in a photo posted on social media by a Russian news agency run by Ksenia Sobchak. In the photo, the general is dressed in civilian clothes, wearing sunglasses, a hat and a button-down shirt, walking outside next to his wife in front of an ivy-covered wall. The location in the photograph was not immediately apparent.
“General Sergei Churovikhin is out: alive, well, at home with his family in Moscow,” read a post on the channel on the Telegram messaging app associated with Ms Sobchak.
Aleksei A. Venediktov, who led the liberal Echo of Moscow radio station until the Kremlin shut it down last year, wrote late Monday that General Surovikhin was at home with his family.
“He is on leave and at the disposal of the Ministry of Defence,” said Mr. Venediktov posted on his Telegram channel.
From October to January, General Surovikhin was the top Russian official in charge of operations in Ukraine. He oversaw the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson and a shift to a defensive strategy, which included the construction of a broad defensive wall known as the “Surovikin Line” that impeded counterattacks by Ukrainian forces.
Mr. Prigozhin knew General Surovikhin because Wagner’s militia had served with Russian forces in Syria when he was supreme commander there. The mercenary chief hailed the general’s appointment last year, calling him a legendary figure and the most capable commander in the Russian army.
But in January, the Kremlin sidelined General Surovikhin, the Chief of the General Staff, General Valery V. Appointed Gerasimo as commander in charge of forces in Ukraine. This change Mr. It marked the beginning of a wider loss of power for Prigozhin, who soon became the leader of General Gerasimov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei K. Clashing with Shoigu, Wagner’s forces suffered heavy losses as they attempted to capture the Ukrainian city of Bagmut.
Those tensions eventually led to Mr. Prigozhin led to the launch of a short-lived rebellion aimed at removing two Russian security chiefs, President Vladimir V. Not to topple Putin.
As speculation swirled about General Churovikh’s whereabouts in July, a top lawmaker who heads the Russian parliament’s defense committee told reporters the general was “resting.”
Mr. Prigozhin was killed on August 23 when a private plane carrying him and other Wagner leaders from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed in the Tver region of Russia. US officials said the crash was caused by an explosion on the plane.
Mr. Kremlin’s Western advice. Putin called his involvement in the event “a complete lie.”
Valeria Safronova Contributed report.