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Russia sacks deputy def. minister sanctioned by West over Mariupol

Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, who was sanctioned by the West and dubbed the “Butcher of Mariupol” for his role in the Ukraine war, has been removed as deputy defense minister, according to a military blogger and a leading news website.

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Mizintsev orchestrated the siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in the early months of the war last year. In September, he was appointed deputy defense minister in charge of logistics and supplies.

Imposing sanctions against Mizintsev last June, the EU referred to him as the Butcher of Mariupol and said he was responsible for the “inhuman” siege of the shattered Ukrainian city, which Russia says it is now rebuilding.

His departure was reported by a Russian military blogger, Alexander Sladkov, and by the RBC news site. Neither offered an explanation for why he had apparently been removed.

The defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the Kremlin has said it cannot say anything on the subject and has referred questions on the matter to the defense ministry.

War criminal Mikhail Mizintsev has been removed as Russian deputy defence minister – Russian media.

He is called the "Butcher of Mariupol".

It was Mizintsev who gave orders to bomb a maternity hospital, a children's hospital, the Drama Theatre, and houses of civilians in…

— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) April 27, 2023

Russia has seized more than a sixth of Ukraine’s territory but has sustained heavy losses in the course of the 14-month war. It has achieved no significant gains since last July while being forced into major retreats around the cities of Kharkiv and Kherson.

It is currently bracing itself for a Ukrainian counter-offensive while trying to take full control of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine after months of grinding warfare.

Putin has frequently reshuffled top military figures without explanation, including in January when Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, replaced Sergei Surovikin in overall charge of what Russia calls its “special military operation.”

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