Ukrainian officials have accused a Russian General overseeing a siege in Mariupol that included the bombing of a maternity hospital of carrying out the worst of war atrocities. Russian Colonel-General Mikail Mizintsev is allegedly is the same person who masterminded similar atrocities in Syria and is now repeating it in Ukraine.
Dubbed the 'Butcher of Mariupol', Mizintsev is suspected to be the mastermind behind the relentless bombing of the city of Mariupol. Mizintsev is known as a ruthless and brutal commander, who even didn't hesitate gassing hundreds of children in Syria earlier. Ukrainian authorities are now demanding him to face war crime charges.
Butchering Innocent Civilians
Olexander Scherba, Ukraine's ex-Austrian ambassador, dubbed Mizintsev the "Butcher of Mariupol" this week, while Oleksandra Matviichuk, the president of Ukraine's Centre for Civil Liberties, demanded that he be charged with war crimes.
Mizintsev, the Director of the Russian National Centre for Defense since 2014, was identified as the Mariupol operation's leader earlier this week when he personally demanded that Ukrainian troops protecting the port surrender, which they refused. He has been accused of being behind the bombing of maternity hospital as well as the shelling of an art school that was being used as a bomb shelter for residents.
"Remember him. This is Mikhail Mizintsev," tweeted Matviichuk, while posting a photo of the colonel-general who heads Russia's National Defense Control Center.
"He is leading the siege of Mariupol," she said of the city that has been nearly wiped out by almost constant airstrikes.
"It was he who ordered the bombing of a children's hospital, the drama theatre etc.," she said of two of the worst attacks, both widely condemned as war crimes.
Mariupol has suffered one of the worst damages in the war between Russia and Ukraine. The first involved the bombing of a maternity hospital, which killed toddlers and pregnant women, including one who was seen being stretchered away in agony.
In the second, aircraft destroyed a theatre that local officials said was a shelter for over 1,000 civilians, mostly children and the elderly, with the word "CHILDREN" clearly written on the outside in Russian.
His Several Atrocities
The Ukrainian government has claimed that attempts to establish humanitarian corridors out of the city have been disrupted by attacks from Russia's military. And Mizintsev is the person behind it that has dubbed him the 'Butcher of Mariupol'.
The name was coined by Scherba who shared an intercepted audio clip between himself and a junior officer. In a translation tweeted out by Scherba, Mizintsev can be heard calling a junior soldier who was not wearing his uniform the "scum of the highest order".
He is recorded saying: "Why is his face not mutilated yet? Why hasn't anyone cut off his ears? Why isn't this moron limping yet? "At night, when he walks out, unknown assailants jump him. Just jump him over and over, beating him in the face with a bottle and then pouring another liter into it."
However, this is not the first time Mizintsev has shown his brutality or ruthlessness. Mizintsev was also thought to have assisted in the formulation of Russia's military strategy in Syria, particularly the horrific siege of Aleppo, which bears frightening similarities to the horrors being perpetrated in Mariupol.
Russian forces assisted Bashar al-Assad in besieging and eventually recapturing the northwestern city of Aleppo from Free Syrian Army troops, joining him in his efforts to retake Syria from various rebel groups - some of them Western-backed - who had carved up the country between them during the civil war.
The battle to retake the city lasted more than four years in total, but the most intense phase occurred in late 2016, when Russian and Syrian forces encircled the eastern half of the city while 270,000 civilians remained inside and bombed it for months before bringing in troops and tanks to capture it.
During the siege, Russian forces employed cluster bombs, chemical weapons, and incendiary bombs - all of which are prohibited under international treaties - in residential areas. Hospitals were methodically targeted and eventually entirely destroyed in bombing strikes, according to evidence.
Mizintsev "has huge experience of destroying cities in Syria," said Matviichuk, while vowing to "take care" of him in a war crimes trial in The Hague.
Sergey Bratchuk, a Ukrainian military spokesman, also claimed that Mizintsev was "personally controlling" the ongoing assault on Mariupol.
Despite substantial proof, the Kremlin has refused to say who ordered particular assaults, claiming that they have never targeted civilians. Officials have stated that the bloodied pregnant ladies were crisis actors, and that neo-Nazi forces were being housed in both the maternity hospital and the theatrical theatre.
However, Mizintsev has been identified as a key figure in Mariupol operations, where he blames Ukrainian troops for causing "a terrible humanitarian catastrophe."