Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday sacked Vladislav Surkov, one of his chief advisers and the architect of Russia’s Ukraine policy who was viewed among the country’s most powerful men.
The dismissal of the 55-year-old Surkin was announced on the Kremlin website but there was no indication of what his new job would be.
In recent years, Surkov was in charge of the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy and cultivated close ties with the separatists who have carved out “people’s republics” in the ex-Soviet country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The secretive strategist oversaw political parties in parliament and electoral campaigns that invariably handed victory to Putin.
Surkov saw his influence wane after he was moved to the government in a reshuffle in 2011 and served two years in the rank of deputy prime minister.
In 2013, he returned to the Kremlin where he served as Putin’s advisor in charge of Russia’s ties with Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed de-escalation of the Syrian crisis, saying Russian-Turkish agreements should be implemented in full.
The announcement came against the backdrop of rising tensions following deadly attacks by the Assad regime on Turkish troops in Idlib.
Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.