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Russian President Vladimir Putin Named new commander of Operations Command in Ukraine as officials warn that Moscow is looking to shift its focus there eastern ukraine After more than six weeks of war.
The BBC reported late Friday that General Alexander Dvornikov, commander of Russia’s Southern Military District, will now lead the invasion.
Dvornikov not only had known experience in the Russian campaign in Syria, but also led military exercises in southern Russia last year, along the Ukrainian border with the Donbass region.
A Western official told the newspaper that the change in leadership would improve the faltering Russian invasion after it failed to capture the capital, Kyiv, despite weeks of bombing and attempts to push ground forces across the country.
“Unless Russia is able to change its tactics, it is very difficult to see how they are succeeding even at these limited goals that they themselves have recalibrated,” the official said.
But Russia has made more progress in southern and eastern Ukraine — progress that top US defense officials have said is due in large part to its eight-year illegal occupation of regions such as Crimea.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned this week that Russia is looking to focus its efforts on a “major offensive” in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed forces have been battling the Ukrainian military since 2014 in the self-proclaimed peoples of Donetsk and Luhansk. .
The breakaway regions are located along the eastern border of Ukraine in a region known as Donbass.
Six months before Russia invaded Ukraine under the guise of a “special military operation,” Dvornikov directly supervised military exercises that conducted “combined arms operations from August 9 to September 15” in southern Russia, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
The exercises reportedly included “tactical missions” that included “automatic rifle, tank and artillery battalions” in coordination with attached specialized units.
Specialized units focused on “biological, radiological, and nuclear” defenses. Reconnaissance, logistical electronic warfare, medical training, aviation and military police exercises were also conducted.
The report noted that “warships from the Caspian Sea Fleet, Black Sea Fleet, Marines and at least 80 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft” took part in the exercises.
The exercises were conducted along the eastern borders of Ukraine as well as in occupied Crimea and parts of occupied Georgia.
The Report He pointed out that the Russian forces are looking forward to practicing joint operations based on lessons learned from experiences in Syria.
The United States and NATO pledged to increase military support as officials warn that the war in eastern Ukraine is set to become increasingly brutal.
“This is going to be a knife fight. It could be very bloody and very ugly,” a senior US defense official told reporters on Friday. “The Russians limit their geographical targets, and they still have a lot of combat power at their disposal.”
The official said the United States believes Russia is looking to add 60,000 recruits to its war effort as it focuses on eastern Ukraine — an area roughly the size of West Virginia.
US and NATO security officials have warned that the war in Ukraine could last for months, if not years to come.