Russian general commanded the decisive campaign in eastern Ukraine 3

Russian general commanded the decisive campaign in eastern Ukraine 3

Alexander Dvornikov, a general who experienced battles in Syria, was appointed by Russia as general commander of a campaign that could determine the situation on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine.

More than a month after launching the special military campaign in Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the end of phase one, shifting the target and focus of combat to the eastern region of Ukraine.

General Aleksandr Dvornikov, 61 years old, started his military career at the age of 17.

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

Mr. Alexander Dvornikov during an exercise at Molkino base in Russia in March 2017.

General Dvornikov was sent by President Vladimir Putin to Syria in September 2015, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time ally of Moscow, faced many difficulties against self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) rebels.

Becoming commander in chief of the military campaign in Syria, General Dvornikov quickly established the Hmeymim air base near the country’s northwest coast, from which he deployed fighter jets to bomb rebel targets in Idlib.

The Russian army announced that it was fighting enemies on both sides of Syria at the same time.

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

Russia’s military campaign in Syria was considered successful by Mr. Putin, and in 2016 General Dvornikov was awarded the title `Hero of the Russian Federation`, one of the country’s highest awards.

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

Observers believe that with the decision to appoint this 61-year-old general as commander-in-chief of the second phase of the military campaign in Ukraine, the Kremlin may want Mr. Dvornikov to bring about another `Syrian miracle` before May 9.

Victory Day is one of Russia’s most important holidays and is often celebrated with a large military parade on Red Square.

According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, to achieve that goal, General Dvornikov can launch drastic tactics to help Russian forces achieve decisive results on the battlefield like what he did.

Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia, said that the decision to appoint General Dvornikov as commander-in-chief of the campaign shows that Moscow `wants to quickly control most of the territory` in the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine, before the Day of War.

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 Mr. Dvornikov is in command.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in the US, assessed that the first phase of the Russian campaign north of Kiev did not go smoothly due to stronger resistance than expected from Ukrainian forces, along with many factors.

ISW points out that one of the biggest obstacles in the Russian campaign is the `lack of a single general commander` for the fronts, causing many difficulties in combat coordination between attacks on the large battlefield.

During more than a month of launching the campaign in Ukraine, Russian forces did not have a top commander for the military branches.

`Appointing General Dvornikov as general commander of the second phase of the campaign in eastern Ukraine is a reasonable decision, because the upcoming Russian attacks will almost all be in the area he is in charge of as Commander.

Mark Galeotti, emeritus professor at University College London, said Dvornikov is a `notable but not too surprising` choice, because his combat experience in Syria can help the general `cope with threats.`

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