Who is General Alexander Dvornikov? The ‘brutal’ Russian commander now in charge of Ukraine invasion

The 60-year-old is known as the ‘butcher of Syria’ for ‘ruthless’ tactics during the Syrian civil war

'In strategic terms, Putin has already lost', says former UK ambassador to Russia

The Kremlin has appointed Alexander Vladimirovich Dvornikov to lead Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after its troops have been plagued with a number of setbacks.

A US official confirmed the move to media on Sunday. Up to now, Russia had no central war commander on the ground.

The 60-year-old general’s appointment has sparked predictions from the US that he will inflict more “war crimes” and “brutality” against Ukrainian civilians.

Jake Sullivan, US national security advisor, made the claim in an interview with CNN – but did not cite any evidence.

The general is known as the “butcher of Syria” for his troops’ destruction during the Syrian civil war, when Russia backed Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in fighting rebels.

In 2015, Dvornikov became the first commander of the Russian army at the beginning of its involvement in the civil war – for which he was awarded the title ‘Hero of the Russian Federation’ the following year.

During his time leading Russian troops in Syria, an estimated 10,000 bombings flattened towns and cities across the country – mainly Aleppo and Homs – and destroyed basic infrastructure such as hospitals and water sources.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Alexander Dvornikov

In 2020, Vladimir Putin promoted Dvornikov to the rank of general.

Dvornikov has now been placed in charge of military operations during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sir Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia, told Sky News that Russia has appointed Dvornikov “to try to gain at least some territory in Donetsk” in eastern Ukraine, which would be an achievement for the Putin regime.

Harry Kazianis, US military analyst at the Center for National Interest, told the Telegraph: “My fear is that Dvornikov has orders that if he cannot take eastern Ukraine he will turn him into a giant Aleppo.”

A military analyst from Moscow, who did not want to be named, has said: “Dvornikov is known as a ruthless commander and will deploy tactics used in Syria now in Ukraine. He was in Chechnya 20 years ago.

“It is about liberating cities by reducing them to rubble.”

Dvornikov is reportedly believed to be behind the Kramatorsk railway station bombing earlier this week, that killed at least 52 people including five children, which Russia denied responsibility for.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in