Russian authorities removed the commander of the country's Western Military District (WMD), according records from the country’s Unified State Registry published Monday.
The Unified State Registry, which functions as a state government registry of all registered legal entitles, has listed Col. Gen. Roman Berdnikov as the new commander of Russia’s Western Military District. The announcement comes as Russian forces have pulled out from many parts of eastern Ukraine.
The WMD, based in the western part of Russia, is one of five military districts in the country's military. It played a significant role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Berdnikov replaces Col. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlyov, who has also been a commander in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region where Russian forces suffered heavy losses in past weeks. Bednikov’s appointment comes on the heels of the Russian forces retreat from the strategic eastern city of Lyman, in the eastern Donetsk region.
More on the former commander: Zhuravlyov, who is known for overseeing one of the most brutal chapters of Syria’s war, also oversaw a rocket artillery brigade, whom CNN identified as the brigade that launched cluster munitions attack in residential districts of Kharkiv in late February, during the early days of the war.
Russian officials have criticized the country’s military leadership following the retreat in Lyman. Russian lawmaker and former army commander, Andrei Gurulev, said he could not explain this “surrender” from a military point of view, speaking on air in Soloviev Live, a pro-Kremlin TV channel on Saturday.
Berdnikov graduated from the Kyiv Suvorov Military School in 1991 and from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1995.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to confirm the leadership change at the Western Military District.