Vladimir Putin has reportedly appointed General Aleksandr Dvornikov to oversee Russia's war in Ukraine.

So what impact will this change of military command have on the battlefield?

And what can we expect in the coming days and weeks?

Gen Dvornikov was the man Mr Putin turned to when the Syrian regime was on the brink of collapse in 2015.

Russia's military intervention, with Gen Dvornikov in charge, essentially swung the momentum back in the favour of President Bashar al Assad and preserved Russia's main ally in the Middle East.

Russia's military hammered Syrian opposition fighters as well as the Islamic State's so-called "caliphate".

But it came at a huge cost to civilian life and infrastructure.

Gen Dvornikov was the military architect behind the battle of Aleppo. The urban wasteland left behind is of his making.

'Constant fire impact, day and night'

The 60-year-old general spelt out his "constant fire impact, day and night" military doctrine in an article for a Russian military journal in 2018.

"One of the key events of the Syrian war was the operation to liberate Aleppo," Gen Dvornikov wrote.

"It was offensive and defensive in nature. For the purpose of constant fire impact on the enemy, the offensive tactics was used in three shifts day and night, without a break. A defensive grouping was created along the outer ring."

"Aircraft attacked targets and groupings of terrorist formations only along the outer ring, while missile troops and artillery, tactical firepower as part of the RUK attacked important targets within the city and only after confirmation from three or more sources," he wrote.

Gen Dvornikov was inserted into the Syrian conflict by Putin at a time of near defeat by Assad's forces. He reflected on what he found.

"By the summer of 2015, the Syrian armed forces had completely exhausted themselves, the personnel were demoralised, the officer corps was degrading, and the leadership of the armed forces showed extremely low efficiency in command and control."

Ironically, the same could now be said for the Russian military units in Ukraine after a month-long series of battles. Morale is low. Units are short of equipment.

Consolidate the fight

The Russian tactic in Ukraine so far has been to fight on several fronts, without a singular command structure.

It has proved disastrous with Putin's spokesman admitting to Sky News that "we have significant losses of troops and it's a huge tragedy for us".

Here, again, Gen Dvornikov's 2018 article is instructive: "With the beginning of the first operations to stabilise the situation, the management organisation required serious adjustments," he wrote.

"… modern military science shows flexibility, the ability to adapt to a specific situation and the ability to achieve geopolitical and strategic goals without the widespread use of military force - by measures of a non-military nature, by the use of integrated groupings of troops."

To that end, we now see Russia retreating from much of Ukraine, giving up on widespread military force, and focusing just on the Donbas in the far east.

Here, the territory is more familiar (from the 2014 conflict) and the supply lines are much shorter.

The info war

The information war will be key too - "to shake the situation from the inside". Effectively to subjugate or destroy.

"During the operation in Syria, we, like nowhere before, became convinced of the practical importance of information confrontation," he wrote.

"Information resources have become, in fact, one of the most effective weapons. Their widespread use allows in a matter of days to shake the situation from the inside.

"For example, during the operation to liberate Aleppo, information work with the local population helped to liberate entire neighbourhoods without a fight, to withdraw more than 130,000 civilians."

Something else to watch: with just one fierce front in the southeast, Ukraine's most capable units from across the nation could be drawn into this corner of the country. The Russians will then seek to surround them.

Mariupol has already begun to mirror Aleppo even without General Dvornikov in command.

Russia-ukraine crisis Russian soldiers Ukraine invasion