Documents have suggested that Russian General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russian military operations in Ukraine whose whereabouts are currently unknown, was a secret VIP member of the Wagner mercenary group, a media report said.
The documents, obtained by the Russian investigative Dossier Center, showed that Surovikin had a personal registration number with Wagner, CNN reported.
Surovikin is listed along with at least 30 other senior Russian military and intelligence officials, who the Dossier Center said are also VIP Wagner members.
Surovikin has not been seen in public since June 24, when he released a video pleading for Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to stop his short-lived mutiny.
Surovikin is a decorated commander of the Russian Air Force and became nicknamed “General Armageddon” for his ruthless tactics bombing cities in Syria, CNN reported.
It is unclear what Wagner’s VIP membership entails, including whether there is a financial benefit.
Surovikin was known to have links with the mercenary group, but the documents raise questions about the closeness of senior members of the Russian military and Wagner, CNN reported.
The Kremlin has remained silent on the topic, embarking instead on an aggressive campaign to reassert the authority of President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, the Russian-language version of the independent Moscow Times cited two anonymous defense sources as saying that Surovikin had been arrested in relation to the failed mutiny, CNN reported.
Rybar, a popular blogger, noted on Wednesday that “Surovikin has not been seen since Saturday” and said nobody knew for certain where he was.
“There is a version that he is under interrogation,” he added.