The Biden administration is hammering Vladimir Putin over the Russian dictator’s appointment of a certain general described by U.S. officials as the “Butcher of Syria.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and others in the administration claim that Putin is signaling an intent to escalate alleged atrocities in Ukraine by tapping Alexander Dvornikov, Fox News reported.
“The butcher of Syria”
As the moniker indicates, Dvornikov led Russia’s intervention to prop up Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
During that time, Dvornikov earned a reputation for brutality toward Syrian civilians, according to U.S. officials. He received a Hero of Russia Medal from Putin in 2016.
As Putin seeks to recalibrate what has been described as a faltering war effort in Ukraine, he is putting Dvornikov in charge of Russia’s forces there.
Putin’s decision is a sign that Russia’s alleged deliberate brutality toward civilians will continue, Psaki told Fox News Sunday.
“The reports we are seeing of a change in military leadership and putting a general in charge who is responsible for the brutality and atrocities we saw in Syria shows there’s going to be a continuation of what we’ve seen on the ground in Ukraine and that is what we are expecting,” Psaki said.
The White House has consistently accused the Kremlin of waging an indiscriminate campaign of terror against Ukrainian civilians, with no less than President Biden saying that Putin should stand trial for the alleged massacre of civilians in the city of Bucha. Russia has denied these claims, accusing Ukraine of fabricating or provoking attacks on civilians to win sympathy from the West.
The Biden administration is responding to Russia’s propaganda efforts with its own “information war” that has seen Biden officials knowingly share unreliable intelligence, NBC reported recently. For example, officials told NBC that there is no evidence Putin plans to use chemical weapons despite claims to the contrary from Biden.
For her part, Psaki credited Russia’s setbacks to the courage of Ukraine and “the commitment and dedication of the American people to this war,” a role she signaled would continue indefinitely.
“We’re going to continue to do that so we can equip them on the battlefield and continue the success to date,” she told Fox.