Satellite images show apparent Russian military convoy east of Kharkiv
Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new general to lead the war in Ukraine as his army changes plans after the failed capture of kyiv, according to a US official and a European official.
Officials told CNN that Army General Alexander Dvornikov, commander of Russia’s Southern Military District, has been appointed theater commander of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
“It shows a Russian recognition that this is going extremely wrong and that they have to do something differently,” the EU official said.
A new theater commander with extensive combat experience could bring a level of coordination to an assault now supposed to focus on the Donbass region, instead of multiple fronts.
Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russian military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. During Dvornikov’s command of Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft supported the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombing densely populated neighborhoods and making many civilian casualties. The city fell to Syrian government forces in December 2016.
Russian forces have used an equally brutal approach in parts of Ukraine, striking residential buildings in major cities and demolishing much of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
“We’ll see how effective it turns out,” the EU official said. “Russian doctrine, Russian tactics remain pretty much what they have been since Afghanistan.”
“They do things the same way,” the official added.
Military analysts and US officials familiar with intelligence assessments have speculated that Russian generals aimed to present Putin with tangible progress on the battlefield ahead of VE Day on May 9, when Russia observes the defeat of Nazi Germany and traditionally marks the occasion with a parade in Moscow. Red Square.
The European official described it as a “self-imposed delay”, which could lead to the Russians making additional mistakes.
But it could also potentially lead Russian forces to commit more atrocities, as reportedly happened in the kyiv suburb of Bucha under Russian occupation. “The stench of these war crimes will hang over these Russian armed forces for many years to come,” the official said.
Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Roderic Lyne told Sky News on Saturday that Moscow had appointed a new general with “a pretty savage record in Syria to try and win at least some territory in Donetsk that Putin could present like a victory.
Assigning a new overall commander for Russia’s war in Ukraine may be an attempt to create a more cohesive strategy. CNN previously reported that Russia lacked a theater-wide commander for operations in Ukraine, meaning units from different Russian military districts operated uncoordinated and sometimes at cross purposes, according to two officials. American Defense.
The United States has previously estimated that Putin is likely to appoint a general whose forces have operated in southern Ukraine, as that is where the Russians have taken and held more territory, as opposed to the Russian attempt to encircle kyiv and cities in northern Ukraine, an effort that recently ended in a withdrawal.
The Ukrainian General Staff said on Friday that Russian forces had completed their withdrawal from the Sumy region in northern Ukraine, while continuing to build up forces in the east of the country.