Russian soldiers in Mariupol
Two Russian soldiers patrol in the Mariupol drama theatre, bombed last March 16, in Mariupol on April 12, 2022 ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images


  • Putin fired Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, known for his moniker 'The Butcher of Mariupol'
  • Mizintsev gave the order to bomb the Mariupol theater that left 600 Ukrainian civilians dead
  • Mizintsev will be replaced by National Guard deputy head Alexei Kuzmenkov

Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired another high-ranking colonel, according to media reports.

The official in question is Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, a ruthless general whose tactics earned him the moniker "the Butcher of Mariupol." He is particularly associated with the brutal bombing of the southern port city of Mariupol, which targeted a local maternity hospital, killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

He was also reportedly behind the bombing of a children's hospital, civilian homes and the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater. The attack at the Mariupol theater left up to 600 civilians dead.

Prior to the war in Ukraine, Mizintsev was responsible for the siege of Aleppo in Syria in 2016. At the time, Mizintsev ordered the use of cluster bombs and other banned munitions — in addition to heavy shelling and conventional airstrikes — to target residential areas in an effort to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crush rebel forces.

It is unclear why Mizintsev, 60, was removed from his position. Alexander Sladkov, a correspondent for the Russian state-run newspaper Izvestia and Mizintsev's alleged "friend," said in a Telegram post that the colonel was ousted for logistics, as translated by the New York Post.

Mizintsev replaced Gen. Dmitry Bulgakov eight months ago after the latter was blamed for failing to properly arm or feed Russian soldiers. Alexei Kuzmenkov, who serves as deputy head of Russia's National Guard, is slated to replace Mizinstev.

It is unclear what will happen to Mizintsev following the sudden reshuffle in Russia's military. However, social media users speculated that he may be the next Russian official to die of mysterious circumstances, including falling out the window.

"May his window fall next Tuesday be as swift as his fall from grace," one user tweeted.

"Maybe a window or tea will got him first before he even face a judge," another user wrote.

If it happens, Mizintsev will not be the first Russian official to die a mysterious death. Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, at least 40 high-ranking officials, figures and business magnates have died. The latest is Igor Shkurko, the 49-year-old deputy general director of Russian energy company Yakutskenergo, who had allegedly taken his own life in a Siberian prison cell.

Many civilian buildings, like this one in Mariupol, have been destroyed during the six months of the war.