The Russian top general in Ukraine appears to have been sacked due to the slow pace of progress in Donbass, amid reports that he was drunk and had lost Vladimir Putin’s confidence in him. If confirmed, the dismissal of General Alexander Dvornikov, nicknamed the “Butcher of Aleppo” for destroying the Syrian city in 2015, would be another major change for the Russian military leadership, indicating that Putin is unhappy with how the war is developing, according to the British newspaper, The Telegraph. .
For its part, the British Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that the Kremlin recently dismissed several generals, including General Dvornikov, and the commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel Andrei Serdyukov.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented, but it comes after weeks of unconfirmed rumors of Putin’s displeasure with his performance.
Despite commanding Russian forces fighting in Ukraine since April, General Dvornikov, 60, has not been seen in public for more than a month.
During this time, the main victory of the Russian army was to slowly advance towards the control of Donbass in Severodonetsk, from which Ukrainian forces had withdrawn on Saturday, according to multiple sources.
However, the Moscow army was subjected to bloody attacks by the Ukrainian resistance, as it was unable to take control of many towns even though the Russian artillery had almost destroyed them.
It likely took General Dvornikov too long to gain control of Donbass, which has been Putin’s priority target since he failed to seize Kyiv in March, said Samuel Ramani, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
He continued, “Dvornikov was given a target date of June 10 to take Severodonetsk, and after he missed the deadline, he used his offensive tactics similar to what happened in Aleppo.”
Ramani also described the dismissal of General Serdyukov as commander of Russia’s airborne units as a “spectacular step”.
Serdyukov commanded about 2,000 Russian paratroopers in January when they deployed to Kazakhstan to help crush unrest. The Kremlin considered the mission a great success and General Serdyukov was promoted.
Putin was accused of micromanaging the Kremlin’s military operations, to the frustration of generals who complained of his incompetence. And rumors circulated for weeks that he had fallen out with General Dvornikov in particular.
In an interview on YouTube earlier this month, Christo Grosev, a leading journalist for the British open source investigative journalism group, said that General Dvornikov was known to be a heavy drinker, and that officers who worked with him in Syria did not trust him.
The reputation of Dvornikov from Syria was not very high within the army. They explained to the audience that he was a difficult strategist, but they already knew that his ability to coordinate different types of forces wasn’t very high.