As Russia Shifts Its Plans After Failing To Take Kyiv, Putin Names Army General Alexander Dvornikov To Run The War For Him, A US And A European Official Say

As Russia Shifts Its Plans After Failing To Take Kyiv, Putin Names Army General Alexander Dvornikov To Run The War For Him, A US And A European Official Say

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3 hr 33 min agoPutin appoints new commander for Ukraine By CNN’s Oren Liebermann and Nathan Hodge 

In this pool photo taken on Thursday, March 17, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, poses with Col. Gen. Alexander Dvornikov during an awarding ceremony in Moscow’s Kremlin, Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/AP)Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new general to direct the war in Ukraine as his military shifts plans after a failure to take Kyiv, according to a US official and a European official. 

The officials told CNN Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, commander of Russia’s Southern Military District, has been named theater commander of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine   

“It speaks to a Russian acknowledgement that it is going extremely badly and they need to do something differently,” the European official said.

A new theater commander with extensive combat experience could bring a level of coordination to an assault now expected to focus on the Donbas region, instead of multiple fronts.  

Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russia’s military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. During Dvornikov’s command in Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft backed the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombarding densely populated neighborhoods and causing major civilian casualties. The city fell to Syrian government forces in December 2016.  

Russian forces have used a similarly heavy-handed approach in parts of Ukraine, striking residential buildings in major cities and demolishing much of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.  

“We will see how effective that proves to be,” the European official said. “The Russian doctrine, the Russian tactics remain pretty much as they’ve been since Afghanistan.” 
“They do things in the same old way,” the official added. Military analysts and US officials familiar with intelligence assessments have speculated Russia’s generals have a goal of presenting Putin with some tangible battlefield progress ahead of Victory Day on May 9, when Russia observes the defeat of Nazi Germany and traditionally marks the occasion with a parade in Moscow’s Red Square.   

The European official described it as a “self-imposed deadline,” that could lead the Russians to make additional mistakes. 

But it could also potentially lead Russian forces to commit more atrocities, as allegedly happened in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha while under Russian occupation. “The stench of these war crimes is going to hang over these Russian armed forces for many years,” the official said. 

Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Roderic Lyne told Sky News on Saturday Moscow has appointed a new general with a “pretty savage track record in Syria to try to at least gain some territory in Donetsk that Putin could present as a victory.”  

Assigning a new overall commander for Russia’s war in Ukraine may be an attempt to create a more cohesive strategy. CNN previously reported that Russia had no theater-wide commander for Ukraine operations, meaning units from different Russian military districts have been operating without coordination and sometimes at cross purposes, according to two US defense officials.  

The US has previously assessed Putin would likely name a general whose forces have been operating in Ukraine’s south because that is where the Russians have taken and held more territory, as opposed to the Russian bid to encircle Kyiv and cities in northern Ukraine, an effort that recently ended with a withdrawal. 

Ukraine’s General Staff said Friday Russian forces had completed their withdrawal from Ukraine’s northern Sumy region, while continuing a buildup of forces in the country’s east.  

5 hr 17 min agoRussia’s departure from northern Ukraine shows evidence of non-combatants being targeted, UK Military Intelligence saysFrom CNN’s Michelle Velez

Russia’s departure from northern Ukraine shows evidence of non-combatants being disproportionately targeted, according to a Saturday UK military intelligence update.

The evidence includes mass graves, the fatal use of hostages as human shields and mining of civilian infrastructure, the update said.

“Russian forces continue to use IEDs to inflict casualties, lower morale, and restrict Ukrainian freedom of movement,” the update read.The update added Russian forces “continue to attack infrastructures with high risk of collateral harm to civilians, including a nitrate acid tank at Rubizhne, Ukraine.”

5 hr 15 min agoZelensky thanks UK for sending more lethal aid including anti-ship missiles, armored vehiclesFrom CNN’s Hira Humayun and Michelle Velez

(Ukrainian Presidential Office)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the United Kingdom and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday for providing military support to Ukraine. 

In his nightly address posted to social media, Zelensky said, “Boris was among those who didn’t doubt for a minute whether to support Ukraine. The leadership of Great Britain, in providing our country help in defense and also leadership in the sanctions policy, will always be in history. 

“Ukraine will always be grateful for this to Boris and Britain,” Zelensky said. 

Johnson met with Zelensky in a surprise Saturday visit to Kyiv to outline the UK’s plan to provide further financial and military support. 

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted the UK is sending additional “lethal aid” to Ukraine, including 120 more armored vehicles; new anti-ship missile systems; and $130 million in high-grade military equipment.

“I’m grateful to the United Kingdom that continues and intensifies the sanctions and also provides a significant support of Ukraine by reinforcing our defense capacities,” Zelensky said at a joint press conference with Johnson earlier on Saturday, 

“The other democratic Western countries should follow the example of the United Kingdom,” Zelensky said.

Later on Saturday in his nightly address, Zelensky said: “Boris Johnson was today very specific also in his responses to my questions, as always. And we have already established with him what help Great Britain will provide for rebuilding Ukraine after the war. The British are ready to lead the restoration of Kyiv and Kyiv region.” 6 hr 53 min agoIt’s 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Catch up on the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine warBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center left, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 9. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)If you’re just joining us, here’s what you need to know about where things stand with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign leaders travel to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a visit to the capital on Saturday as a show of “solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” according to Downing Street.Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also met with Zelensky on Saturday.Some diplomatic operations begin resuming in Kyiv:

The European Union announce

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As Russia shifts its plans after failing to take Kyiv, Putin names Army General Alexander Dvornikov to run the war for him, a US and a European official say

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