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Syrskyi reveals his priorities as Ukraine's new chief commander

by Dinara Khalilova February 9, 2024 3:33 PM 3 min read
Oleksandr Syrskyi. (Syrskyi/Telegram)
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Ukraine's newly appointed Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, who has replaced General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, laid out his priorities in managing the war, which will soon enter its third year.

A day before, President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Zaluzhnyi and appointed Syrskyi as the new chief commander following months of speculation about a rift in Ukraine's leadership. Zaluzhnyi led the country's military since July 2021.

Syrskyi had previously served as the head of Ukraine's Ground Forces and commanded the Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group fighting in eastern Ukraine.

He played a key role in the Battle of Kyiv, Ukraine's successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast in fall 2022, and the Battle of Bakhmut, which Russia eventually captured in May last year.

In his first social media post after the appointment published on Feb. 9, Syrskyi said one of his primary tasks would be "a clear and detailed planning" for all military administration bodies, taking into account the needs of front-line units in new weaponry sent by allies.

"The fastest and most rational distribution and delivery of everything necessary for combat units remains the main task of military logistics," Syrskyi said on Telegram.

This statement echoes Zelensky's words that he expects the new military leadership to solve problems with logistics and conduct a "fair redistribution" of Western-provided arms "in favor of the zero line."

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Ivan Stupak, military observer and former employee of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), told the Kyiv Independent that Syrskyi is known to be loyal to Zelensky and his office. Stupak suggested that Syrskyi's public statements would be "fully consistent" with the Presidential Office's position.

Syrskyi said in his Telegram post that "the life and health of personnel have always been the main value of the Ukrainian Army."

"Therefore, maintaining a balance between the performance of combat tasks, units' recovery, and the intensification of training remains more relevant than ever."

Some Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers are not satisfied with Syrskyi's appointment, referring to him as a "butcher" who is "fond of meat assaults" and "extremely brutal discipline," according to Stupak.

Who is General Syrskyi, Ukraine’s new chief commander?
Following months of reports about a rift in Ukraine’s political and military leadership, President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who had led Ukraine’s military since before the full-scale invasion. Zelensky replaced Zaluzhnyi with General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who…

Syrskyi also emphasized that military headquarters of all levels must be aware of all the front-line needs and "master the situation" in each sector of the front.

As another priority for Ukraine fighting off Russia's full-scale invasion, Syrskyi named "introducing new technical solutions and scaling successful experience," such as the use of unmanned systems and modern tools of electronic warfare.

Ukraine has intensified efforts to ramp up its domestic production of weapons, including attack drones that have become a critical tool on the battlefield, aiming to manufacture 1 million drones this year.

Zelensky signed a decree on Feb. 6 creating a separate branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones.

Syrskyi concluded his post by saying that "a reliable rear is one of the main components of overall success in war."

He is expected to present a new team of the Armed Forces's leadership in the coming days.

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