Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizíntsev, head of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, has become for Kyiv the “butcher of Mariupol.”
Mizínstev has been in charge of “personally directing” the siege of the port city and ordered bombardments against civilian targets, according to the advisor of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry Anton Gueraschenko, who considers the military man a “favorite” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He is the one who destroys Mariupol, as he destroyed Syrian cities before,” Gueraschenko added.
The butcher of Mariupol
Mariupol, the main port on the Sea of Azov, has been the coveted prey of the Russian Army since February 24 itself, when Russian troops entered Ukraine, and as of today, when its last defenders are cornered in the Azovstal industrial zone, the city is practically in ruins.
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Barely two days after the beginning of the offensive, the Russian military was already punishing the residential districts of Sartana, on the outskirts of the city, which days later was encircled at the beginning of March.
Much of the town’s population was trapped in the encirclement, without basic services such as electricity, water, and heating due to constant shelling.
“Remember. This is Mikhail Mikhail Mizintsev,” said the director of the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Center, Oleksandra Matviichuk, according to whom Russian troops shelled a maternity hospital and the dramatic theater on the orders of the Russian colonel-general, attacks condemned by the international community.
On April 1, the United Kingdom included him on its “blacklist” by directly linking him to the shelling of the drama theater, among other crimes.
Mizíntsev’s military promotion
However, for the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), it is General Alexandr Dvornikov, commander of the Southern Military District since 2006, who “has been guiding Russian operations in Mariupol in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine all along.”
Dvornikov is now in charge of the overall command of Russian operations in Ukraine, according to the West.
Mizíntsev, 59, gray-haired and blue-eyed, graduated from the Suvórov cadet school in the city of Kalíninin in 1980 and from the Kyiv Military Academy in 1984.
The three-star serviceman served as a tank company commander in the then German Democratic Republic and later as a motorized battalion commander in the South Caucasus until 1993.
From that point on, the rise of his career began, when he assumed various positions in the operational management of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia and the Moscow Military District and later headed the Central Command of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
Following the creation of the National Defense Control Center in 2014, Mizíntsev was appointed head of this institution.
He is in charge of announcing on the Russian side every day the evacuations, of lashing out against the West and denouncing alleged war crimes and provocations by Ukraine, as well as of issuing ultimatums to the defenders entrenched in the Azov steelworks to surrender and lay down their arms, as he did this Tuesday.
Mizíntsev heads an entity in charge of control and coordination of the Armed Forces, but the Defense Ministry does not disclose whether he is directly involved in tactical decision-making on the battlefield.
Mizintsev does not sit at the huge round table that Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu chairs periodically. He sits in the back, in the second row, as was made clear today in a video released by the Defense Ministry.
According to the Defense Ministry’s description, the National Defense Control Center, created in 2014, has a broad mandate.
It is “designed to provide centralized control of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; ensure the management of the day-to-day activities of the Air Force and Navy; collect, generalize and analyze information on the politico-military situation in the world, on the strategic direction and the socio-political situation in the Russian Federation in times of peace and war.”