President Vladimir Putin has removed Russia’s top commander in Ukraine, just three months after he was installed.

Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov will now lead what Mr Putin terms a “special military operation”.

Gen Gerasimov replaces Sergei Surovikin who has overseen recent brutal attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The reshuffle comes as Russians claim they are making progress in eastern Ukraine after suffering a series of military defeats in recent months.

Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine on 24 February.

Gen Gerasimov, who has been in post since 2012, is the longest-serving Russian chief of general staff of the post-Soviet era.

Gen Surovikin – now his deputy – has been dubbed “General Armageddon” for his brutal tactics in previous wars, including Russia’s operations in Syria and the heavy bombardment of the city of Aleppo in particular.

Shortly after he was appointed to lead the operation in October, Russia began its campaign to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions of Ukrainian civilians without power or running water for extended periods in the depths of winter. He also oversaw Russia’s withdrawal from the southern city of Kherson – a major success for the Ukrainians.