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Umerov holds first meeting with Syrskyi as chief commander

by Dinara Khalilova February 9, 2024 6:34 PM 3 min read
Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi (left) and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov shake hands during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 9, 2024. (Defense Ministry)
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Defense Minister Rustem Umerov held his first meeting with General Oleksandr Syrskyi after his appointment as Ukraine's new commander-in-chief to discuss plans for the country's Armed Forces in 2024, the Defense Ministry reported on Feb. 9.

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 has 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.

Earlier on Feb. 9, Syrskyi laid out his priorities in managing the war, which will soon enter its third year.

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…

"An extremely important issue is establishing the logistics system and timely addressing the necessary needs of the military. The focus is on an effective system of rotations and rest for units," Umerov said after the meeting.

Umerov and Syrskyi reportedly discussed improving the quality of military training, addressing the needs of training centers, and preparing new instructors.

Their meeting also focused on a newly created branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones, according to the ministry.

"We expect new solutions, generalization of experience. And most importantly — technical tasks for the development of new samples (of unmanned systems). Those that will create a strategic advantage for us tomorrow. Thanks to Colonel General for the meaningful meeting!" Umerov said.

When announcing his decision to replace Zaluzhnyi with Syrskyi, Zelensky said he expects the new military leadership to come up with "a realistic, detailed" plan for 2024, solve problems with logistics, and conduct a "fair redistribution" of Western-provided arms "in favor of the zero line," among other things.

The president also wants Syrskyi to deal with the "excessive and unjustified" number of personnel serving in military headquarters, establish an effective system of rotations, and improve the quality of military training to ensure there are "only trained soldiers on the zero line."

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

‘It’s their turn now:’ Ukrainians call on government to demobilize exhausted soldiers fighting for nearly two years
Over a hundred women braved a snowstorm in early December to gather in central Kyiv’s Independence Square and call on the government to demobilize their relatives who have been on the front lines since the first days of the invasion. Draped in Ukrainian flags, women chanted, “It’s their
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