From Grozny, Chechnya, to the heart of Aleppo, Syria, General Dvornikov has a sulphurous reputation as a soldier ready to do anything to achieve his objectives.
“The Butcher of Syria”. It was with these words that Aleksandr Dvornikov was nicknamed by former CIA chief David Petraus. The 60-year-old Russian general owes this nickname to his role played during the war in Syria. Indeed, he is accused of being behind the crushing of Aleppo, the country’s second largest city after the capital Damascus.
“His job is to finish what the others couldn’t do,” explains Patrick Sauce, international political columnist on our antenna.
Seen from Moscow, he is now the man for the job, since he was appointed on Sunday by Vladimir Putin to lead the rest of the operations in Ukraine. An unofficial announcement, but confirmed to several Anglo-Saxon media by American military sources.
He was chosen for his experience. This native of the Russian Far East, near Vladivostok, is the man for difficult situations. A career military officer, he has climbed the ranks steadily since his debut as a platoon commander in 1982, recalls The Guardian. He fought in the second war in Chechnya and held several leadership positions before being appointed to command Russian troops in Syria.
Aleksandr Dvornikov was sent to Bashar al-Assad’s country by Putin in September 2015 to stabilize the position of the Syrian regime forces, which at the time, according to Tehran and Moscow, were on the verge of falling into the hands of the opposition.
In Syria, Dvornikov quickly established an air base near the northwest coast, from where bombardments destroyed towns and villages in the province of Idlib. The fall of Aleppo is to be largely attributed to Russian air strikes launched from the base of Hmeimim. These targeted hospitals, schools, bread queues and other pillars of civilian life. This mission earned Dvornikov to be decorated as a “hero of the Russian federation” by Vladimir Putin in September 2016.
Military reorganization of the Ukrainian conflict
From a hoped-for blitzkrieg, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned into trench warfare. More than a month after the start of the conflict, several combat zones seem to freeze as the days pass.
In order to avoid a scenario similar to that of Donbass, where the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists have been camped in their positions since 2014, Vladimir Putin is ready for anything. With the aim of settling the conflict by May 9, the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. On BFMTV this Tuesday morning, our specialist Patrick Sauce clarified:
“The Russian army has lost almost a dozen generals because they each managed part of the fronts on their own. General Dvornikov knows this area very well because until now he was in charge of the southwestern military district of Russia. ” Consequently, he knows all his troops, from Georgia to the Sea of Azov. If he was appointed, it is because by May 9 it is not necessary to take the Donbass, but completely crush with his method: war crimes.”
An analysis which joins that of the Institute for the Study of War, an influential American blog of military analysis, on the organization of the front in Ukraine.
As of Monday, the Ukrainian forces said they were preparing for the fall of Mariupol, a strategic port in the south-east besieged for more than 40 days by the Russian army. After six weeks of intense strikes and fighting, the city is already largely destroyed.
The arrival at the controls of Dvornikov risks accelerating things. Patrick Sauce thus considers this appointment “extremely worrying for the Ukrainians”.