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Ukrainian MP says the situation on the battlefield is “much worse” than at the beginning of the war

A Russian general, identified in a CNN investigation as responsible for targeting civilians in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and his role as the architect of the siege of Aleppo, entered into high-level defense talks with his UK counterpart in 2017 after receiving Russia’s highest military honor for his role. role in the war in Syria.

General Alexander Zhuravlyov, in his capacity as Deputy Chief of the General Staff, met then-Deputy Chief of the Defense Staff of the United Kingdom for high-level talks, during a trip to Moscow in 2017 during his signature trip. UK Ministry. of Defense is “military-to-military dialogue.” Russia’s state news agency TASS reported on February 28, 2017, citing the Russian Defense Ministry, that Zhuravlyov had discussed with Messenger “the restart of military interaction”.

CNN’s investigation found that Zhuravlyov’s leadership in 2016 catalyzed the attack on eastern Aleppo. After taking power, the Russian army rapidly intensified its attacks on rebel-held territory and completed the siege of the densely populated city, causing a large number of deaths and initiating movement for a tactics that defined Russia’s intervention in Syria: encirclement, starvation, bombardment, and brooding.

His period of command also saw a significant increase in cluster bomb attacks recorded in Aleppo.

Analysts from European intelligence agencies who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity said Zhuravlyov’s pattern of behavior in Syria and Ukraine was similar, conquering cities through terror. “Zhuravlyov was brought in with the aim of bringing quick investment to Aleppo. He did it using much of the methodology we saw in Ukraine.

Syrian human rights activists have long called for the Russian General to be held accountable, and a leading UK human rights lawyer at the law firm Payne Hicks Beach, Matthew Ingham, told CNN: “Colonel Alexander Zhuravlyov should have been punished for his actions in Syria “adding, “It is unfortunate that there was no stronger response to the alleged war crimes at that stage, because that has may have influenced Putin’s Ukraine strategic calculations from the outset.

Neither the US nor the UK have taken public action against Zhuravlyov or other key Russian generals involved in war crimes. The US State Department did not comment on the specific results of CNN’s investigation but said it continued to monitor and evaluate war crimes and reports of ongoing violence and abuse.

In a statement to CNN, the UK Ministry of Defense said an earlier statement issued in 2017 had “made clear” that it supported military dialogue with the military to reduce risks and miscalculations. .

“We follow that principle, which is why we are giving Russia every opportunity to engage in dialogue this year on Ukraine before they launch their gratuitous invasion,” a MOD spokesman said. and reprehensible”.

Jennifer Hansler’s CNN contributed to this report

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