Retired Gen. David Petraeus said on Sunday that he fears more violence against Ukrainian civilians in the future as Aleksandr Dvornikov takes over as the general in charge of Russia’s military invasion.
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if Dvornikov’s leadership lead to more brutal violence targeting Ukrainian civilians, the former CIA director responded, “I fear that it may.”
“Again, the Russians were known in Syria basically for – quote – ‘depopulating’ areas,” Petraeus said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” noting that the general was “known as the Butcher of Syria.”
“And I think we can expect that,” he added.
On Saturday, reports circulated that Dvornikov took over the military operation after Russian forces had failed to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv over a month into Moscow’s unprovoked invasion.
“You have this one general that will be in charge of all of this, so the first time you actually have one figure who is the overall commander,” Petraeus also told Tapper, noting that he believes “you can expect more of what we have seen.”
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan echoed that sentiment on CNN on Sunday saying that “we can expect more” of Dvornikov’s history of brutality in his new leadership position.
“This particular general has a resume that includes brutality against civilians in other theaters, in Syria, and we can expect more of the same in this theater,” Sullivan said.
The national security adviser noted, however, that no general could “erase the fact that Russia has already faced a strategic failure in Ukraine.”
“It doesn’t matter which general President Putin tries to appoint,” Sullivan added.