A Change of Command

Russia has revisited the command structure of its faltering operations in Ukraine, picking a general with extensive combat experience in Syria to lead Russian troops in the next phase of the operation, a senior US official said on Saturday.

General Dvornikov (left) in the field. Image courtesy of ibtimes.sg
General Dvornikov (left) in the field. Image courtesy of ibtimes.sg

General Alexander Dvornikov will take charge of the Ukrainian ground campaign in light of a multitude of civilians deaths, slow advances, large numbers of Russian KIA and WIA (wounded in action), and logistical nightmares that have left their troops literally stuck in the mud.

A Logical Promotion

Dvornikov had been commanding Russia’s southern military district before being moved to the head of operations for the entire nation of Ukraine. Prior to that, he served as the first Russian leader in their air war over Syria. In both of these past assignments, he stands accused of war crimes.

Retired Admiral James Stavridis told NBC Nightly News Sunday that the decision to bring Dvornikov aboard could be viewed as an acknowledgment of what US intelligence officials have often referred to as Putin’s dissatisfaction with his failure to take over the country quickly.

Stavridis noted:

“The appointment of this new general indicates Vladimir Putin’s intent to continue this conflict for months, if not years.”

He went on to say that bringing in Dvornikov, a man known for his cruelty to civilians, was an attempt to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people.

Bringing Out the Butcher

Dvornikov is known as the “Butcher of Syria,” Stavridis noted.