Butcher of Mariupol promoted in Putin’s desperate bid to push back in Ukraine

THE Butcher of Mariupol, who bombed a maternity ward and theatre, has been promoted as part of Vladimir Putin’s desperate bid to turn the tide of war in Ukraine.

Mikhail MizintsevMad Vlad‘s favourite army general – has become Russian’s new deputy defence minister.

Mikhail Mizintsev, known as the Butcher of Mariupol, has become Russia's deputy defence minister

Mikhail Mizintsev, known as the Butcher of Mariupol, has become Russia’s deputy defence ministerCredit: AP
Putin suddenly sacked Dmitry Bulgakov, who is being turned into a scapegoat for Russian failures on the battlefield

Putin suddenly sacked Dmitry Bulgakov, who is being turned into a scapegoat for Russian failures on the battlefieldCredit: AFP
Mizintsev is known for his brutality and lack of sympathy for human life

Mizintsev is known for his brutality and lack of sympathy for human lifeCredit: Alamy

Former deputy and army general Dmitry Bulgakov, 68, was abruptly sacked and made into a scapegoat for a string of failings on the battlefield in Ukraine

The notorious Mizintsev, 59, has been sanctioned by Britain for his role in the savage blitzkrieg bombardment of Ukrainian city of Mariupol in May.

His promotion – welcomed by pro-war hardliners in Moscow – is seen as signalling an uncompromising new strategy by Putin after repeated military reversals and humiliation in Ukraine. 

The appointment follows Putin breaking his promise not to mobilise reservists by forcing at least 300,000 to report for war duty as conscripts. 

Footage has emerged of drunken conscripts fight each other as they line up for service and are handed pathetically out-of-date weapons.

Meanwhile, Russian men have been flocking to wed woman with children or care for grannies in a bid to avoid death in Putin’s war draft while others have fled the country.

Putin’s desperate ploy for more men has seen the military call Russians who have already died, including a man who passed aged 40 while on a ventilator in a Siberian hospital in 2020, according to reports in Mail Online.

It follows damning reports that Putin has been giving directions to generals in the field himself.

According to two sources who spoke with CNN, the increasingly “dysfunctional command structure” in Moscow meant Putin is constantly telling his generals what to do on the ground.

The US media outlet claims Russians officers were heard complaining in intercepted conversation to friends and family about Putin’s decision-making.

The New York Times cited a US officials who claims that Putin also rejected his commanders’ requests to withdraw from Kherson.

Putin’s men have had faced a number setbacks in Ukraine and face collapse after Kyiv launched a successful counter-attack, seizing swathes of territory it took Russia months to conquer, in a matter of days earlier this month.

The Russian leader has also lost a number of high ranking generals and commanders in the battlefield who were either killed or captured by Ukrainian troops.

The Kremlin leader has also taken powers to permit martial law in Russian regions, though has not made this move yet. 

“Army General Dmitry Bulgakov has been relieved of the post of deputy minister of defence of the Russian Federation in connection with his transition to another job,” said a curt statement. 

Bulgakov had been in post for 14 years and was in charge of providing logistical support to the armed forces.

He was deemed responsible for botched supplies to Russian troops invading Ukraine. 

His axing – ostensibly to take another post – was greeted with delight by pro-war hardliners. 

Mizintsev will be seen as putting pressure on defence minister Sergei Shoigu, 67, who some sources claimed has begged Putin to resign.

For now Shoigu remains in post despite strong suggestions he has been sidelined from day to day control of the war. 

Mizintsev led the operation in Syria before the Russian-Ukrainian war, and was responsible for the destruction of Aleppo.

He gave the order to strike at a maternity hospital, drama theatre, a children’s hospital and peaceful homes in Mariupol.

Mizintsev was born in 1962 in the village of Averinskaya in Volga region.

He studied in Soviet Ukraine at the Kyiv Higher All-Arms Command School. 

He served in East Germany, and may know Putin from this period. 

He was made a lieutenant general in 2014. 

Hardline pro-war campaigners like Margarita Simonyan – head of sanctioned propaganda TV network RT – made clear they welcomed the Bulgakov axing and replacement with ruthless 

She ‘liked’ a comment in a war-backing Telegram channel declaring: “New times have come for the Russian army’s rear. Completely new. This is so right.”

Mizintsev is accused of orchestrating the shelling of a Mariupol maternity hospital

Mizintsev is accused of orchestrating the shelling of a Mariupol maternity hospitalCredit: AP
Syrian children being treated in hospital following a gas attack on the city of Douma, believed to have been ordered by Mizintsev

Syrian children being treated in hospital following a gas attack on the city of Douma, believed to have been ordered by MizintsevCredit: AFP or licensors