Lieutenant General Yevgeniy Nikiforov is likely in the process of taking over command of Russia’s Western Group of Forces (WGF) in Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Friday.
In an update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Defense Ministry noted that Nikiforov would be at least the fourth commander of the formation since the invasion, and replaces Colonel General Sergei Kuzovlev, who was appointed just three months ago.
“The continued churn of senior Russian officers probably reflects internal divisions regarding the Russian Ministry of Defence’s future conduct of the war,” said the Defense Ministry.
According to the Ministry, as the Chief of Staff of Russia’s Eastern Group of Forces (EGF) during the early weeks of the invasion, Nikiforov would have been heavily involved in planning the disastrous attempt by EGF and airborne forces to advance on Kyiv from the north-west, via the Chernobyl area.
“WGF is almost certainly currently tasked with holding Russia’s right flank, the area of Luhansk Oblast around Kremina and Svatove. As either side could plausibly attempt an offensive in this sector, Nikiforov assumes an important operational role in the conflict,” the Ministry noted.
There are various reports that Nikiforov has close ties to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization.