A Western official has confirmed Russia has reorganised the command of its operations in Ukraine, with the new general having had extensive experience in battle operations in Syria.
Speaking to the BBC, the source said the commander of Russia’s southern military district, Gen Alexander Dvornikov, now leads the invasion.
“That particular commander has a lot of experience of operations of Russian operations in Syria. So we would expect the overall command and control to improve,” the source told the BBC.
The new instatement was done in an attempt to improve coordination between various units, as Russian groups had previously been organised and commanded separately, the official said.
Russia has so far struggled to achieve its war aims 44 days into the invasion, failing to capture major cities such as Kyiv before eventually turning its sights to the Donbas region in the east.
The official said Russian tactics had seen them held back by smaller numbers of Ukrainian units acting more intelligently and with surprise - despite Russia being thought to have a "substantial" force of slightly fewer than 100 operational battalion tactical groups,
“Unless Russia is able to change its tactics, it's very difficult to see how they succeed in even these limited objectives that they've reset themselves," the official said.
The official added political imperatives might take precedence over military priorities, with Russia pushing forward to get some kind of success ahead of 9 May, when the country marks victory in World War Two.
Gen Dvornikov will inherit a Russian army that has shrunk from 125 battalion tactical groups to 100, with significant amounts of brand-new equipment left behind as they withdrew from Kyiv — including tanks, artillery and armoured infantry vehicles.
After serving as deputy commander of the Eastern Military District, Dvornikov became the Central Military District's chief of staff, serving as its acting commander for a month.
In September 2015, he became the first commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria at the beginning of the Russian military intervention in Syria. Dvornikov was awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation for leading the Russian military intervention in Syria and in September 2016 was appointed commander of the Southern Military District.
In September 2015, Dvornikov became the first commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria during the Russian military intervention in Syria. On 17 March 2016, he was awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation for his leadership.
In July, Dvornikov became the Southern Military District's acting commander. He was confirmed in the position on 20 September 2016. By a decree from President Putin, Dvornikov was promoted to the rank of army general on 23 June 2020.