Russian general leads decisive operation in eastern Ukraine

Alexander Dvornikov, a war-experienced general in Syria, was appointed by Russia as commander-in-chief of the operation that could determine the outcome of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine.

Russian general leads decisive operation in eastern Ukraine

More than a month after launching a special military operation in Ukraine , the Russian Defense Ministry announced the end of phase one, shifting the focus and focus of operations to eastern Ukraine. At the same time, General Alexander Dvornikov was appointed commander-in-chief of the second phase of the campaign in the Donbass region, which is considered a battle that can determine the situation on the battlefield and the negotiating table between the two countries.

General Aleksandr Dvornikov, 61, started his military career at the age of 17. After graduating from the Ussuriysk Suvorov Military School, he continued to attend higher academies in the Russian army and completed his training at the famous Frunze Military Academy in 1991.

Dvornikov experienced various positions in the Russian military, serving in Chechnya in the 1990s before being appointed chief of staff of the Central Military District.

General Dvornikov was sent to Syria by President Vladimir Putin in September 2015, at a time when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally of Moscow, was facing many difficulties with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) rebels. as well as rebel groups.

Becoming the commander-in-chief of the military operation in Syria, General Dvornikov quickly established the Hmeymim airbase near the northwest coast of the country, from which to deploy fighter jets to bomb rebel targets in Idlib. northern Syria, as well as ISIS in the east.

The Russian military claims to be fighting simultaneously with the enemy on both sides of Syria. Dvornikov’s tactics have helped the Russian and Syrian militaries gain absolute air superiority over IS and rebels, turning the situation in Assad’s favor.

Russian forces under the command of General Dvornikov helped Syria defeat IS and regain most of its territory, and lost very few soldiers or aircraft in the process.

Russia’s military operation in Syria was hailed by Putin as a success, and General Dvornikov in 2016 was awarded the title “hero of the Russian Federation”, one of the country’s highest awards.

Also in 2016, he was withdrawn and appointed commander of the Southern Military District of Russia, including the Crimean peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014. In 2020, President Putin issued a decree promoting Mr. Dvornikov to the rank of general. .

Observers say that with the decision to appoint the 61-year-old general as commander-in-chief of the second phase of the military operation in Ukraine, the Kremlin may want Dvornikov to bring about another “Syrian miracle” before May 9. Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Victory Day is one of Russia’s most important holidays and is often celebrated with a large military parade on Red Square. Mr. Putin is expected to give a speech on Russian military might during this year’s parade, and he is likely to want to announce a victory in the operation in Ukraine.

According to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, to achieve that goal, General Dvornikov can launch drastic tactics to help Russian forces achieve the results that determine the battlefield as he did. in Syria.

Roderic Lyne, a former British ambassador to Russia, said that the decision to appoint General Dvornikov as commander-in-chief of the operation showed that Moscow “wants to quickly control most of the territory” in the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine, before War Day. won 9/5.

After Russia withdrew its troops from the suburbs of Kiev, Western intelligence and defense officials said Moscow was focusing its efforts on the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, where Dvornikov was in command.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in the US, assessed that the first phase of a Russian operation north of Kiev went unfavorably due to stronger-than-expected resistance from Ukrainian forces, along with many other factors. other difficulties in terms of logistics and human resources.

The ISW pointed out that one of the biggest obstacles in the Russian campaign was the “lack of a single commander-in-chief” for the fronts, making it difficult to coordinate operations between attacks on a large battlefield. .

For more than a month of the operation in Ukraine, the Russian forces did not have a single top commander for the branches. General Dvornikov was one of two or three commanders in charge of various fronts in Ukraine.

“Appointing General Dvornikov as commander-in-chief of the second phase of the operation in eastern Ukraine is a logical decision, because the upcoming Russian offensives are almost all in the area he is in charge of as Commander-in-Chief command of the Russian Southern Military District”, according to ISW experts.

Mark Galeotti, professor emeritus at University College London, said Dvornikov was a “remarkable but not surprising” choice, as his combat experience in Syria could help the general “respond to threats.” new situation”.

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