Horror as ‘Butcher of Syria’ demands 1,200 Russian recruits be sent to embattled Crimea. Source: EXPRESS. Daily Briefing

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Horror as ‘Butcher of Syria’ demands 1,200 Russian recruits be sent to embattled Crimea

A NOTORIOUS Russian general, dubbed the “Butcher of Syria” has demanded more than a thousand fresh Russian recruits be sent to Crimea to prop up defences as the oblast comes under attack.

By Tara Fair

14:40, Wed, Aug 31, 2022 | UPDATED: 14:44, Wed, Aug 31, 2022

Crimea: Smoke fills sky following fire at oil depot

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Commander of Russia’s Southern Military District Aleksandr Dvornikov has ordered 1,200 conscripts to be sent to Crimea as the Kremlin attempts to mass-recruit after suffering heavy losses. Ukrainian intelligence suggests military commissars are attempting to conscript from Moscow and St Petersburg. The Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence reported: “Muscovites and St Petersburgers called up during covert mobilization will man the military units stationed in the temporarily occupied Crimea.”

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The recruitment drive comes after a series of explosions in the Russian-held oblast, which was captured by Moscow in 2014.

On Wednesday, a large-scale fire was reported in the Krasnogvardeyskoye region of Crimea.

Images shared on Telegram showed huge clouds of black smoke billowing from the site which local sources have claimed is an oil depot.

The attacks in Crimea – which was initially thought to be too far behind the front lines to be hit – appear to have begun on August 9 with a strike on the Saki air base in which eight fighter jets were destroyed.

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Horror as 'Butcher of Syria' demands 1,200 Russian recruits be sent to embattled Crimea

Horror as ‘Butcher of Syria’ demands 1,200 Russian recruits be sent to embattled Crimea (Image: GETTY)

Fire and smoke billowing from munitions depot in Crimea, August

Fire and smoke billowing from munitions depot in Crimea, August (Image: GETTY)

Following the strike, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “One can literally feel in the air of Crimea that the occupation there is temporary, and Ukraine is returning.”

The attacks in Crimea have so far consisted of independent strikes, rather than a concerted effort to recapture the land.

Commenting on the renewed effort to station recruits in the area, the Ukrainian Intelligence Agency added: “As there are no active hostilities in Crimea yet, servicemen are not offered to sign a contract, which may indicate saving money and reluctance to pay allowances provided for by Russian legislation.

“Some 1,200 conscripts will serve and die under the blows of Ukrainian troops and at the hands of partisans for a conscript’s salary, and this is about five thousand rubles (about 82 US dollars).”

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General Dvornikov, the so-called “Butcher of Syria”, gained notoriety for his prominent role in the Syrian war, where forces under his command were responsible for widespread abuses against the civilian population and frequently accused of committing crimes against humanity.

He has been described as an “old school” general, trained in Soviet military doctrines that view obliterating civilian targets as a means of gaining battlefield momentum.

Russia’s Syrian campaign was viewed by Putin as a success, and General Dvornikov was awarded the hero of Russia medal, one of the country’s highest awards, for his contribution.

  • Russia lost very few troops or aircraft in the conflict and was able to maintain air supremacy throughout.

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Smoke billowing from a munitions depot in the village of Mayskoye, Crimea

Smoke billowing from a munitions depot in the village of Mayskoye, Crimea (Image: GETTY)

Soviet military equipment in Sevastopol, the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula

Russian servicemen are seen on a roadside in the Kherson (Image: GETTY)

This same cannot be said for the war in Ukraine, which has seen heavy Russian losses since the invasion began on February 24.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry estimated Russia had lost in excess of 47,900 military personnel in just over six months.

Other military losses are estimated to be similarly severe, with 1,974 tanks, 4,312 armoured vehicles, 1,091 artillery systems, 284 rocket systems, 152 air defence systems, 234 planes, 204 helicopters, 196 cruise missiles and 103 units of special equipment also destroyed.

The Kremlin will also have its eye on Kherson, south Ukraine, where Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces have launched a counter-offensive.

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