On 24 June 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defence stated that Surovikin, as the commander of the Southern Group of Russian troops, led the encirclement of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the towns of Hirske and Zolote, Luhansk region, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On 8 October 2022, by order of the Russian Ministry of Defence, he was appointed commander of the Joint Forces Group in the war in Ukraine. Under his command, the Russian army began massive shelling of Ukraine's energy infrastructure. A number of sources associate Surovikin's name with a large network of trenches, minefields, barbed wire barriers, tank traps and firing positions built in the Russian-occupied territories, sometimes called the "Surovikin Line", designed to slow down any attack.
On 11 January 2023, Vladimir Putin removed Surovikin from his post as commander of the Joint Forces Group in Ukraine and appointed Army General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of Defence, to the post, with Surovikin as his deputy.
In May, The Economist noted that Surovikin has been "representing the interests" of the Wagner PMC group in the Russian Ministry of Defence for the past few years. Surovikin, along with the head of the PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, argued with Defence Minister Shoigu and General Gerasimov over the various tactics used during the war. Analysts praised Surovikin and Prigozhin for some of the Russian army's successes on the battlefield. For example, Surovikin did a good job of withdrawing practically surrounded Russian troops from Kherson.