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Zelensky replaces commander of Territorial Defense Forces

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 9, 2023 4:42 PM 2 min read
Major General Anatolii Barhylevych, the newly-appointed commander of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces. (Photo credit: ArmyInform)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Ihor Tantsiura from the position of commander of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, replacing him with Anatolii Barhylevych.

The new commander, Major General Barhylevych, was the deputy chief of staff of the Ground Forces Command.

Tantsiura had been appointed as Territorial Defense Forces commander in 2022, following his service as the chief of staff of the Anti-Terrorist Operation and later the Joint Forces Operation in the Donbas and as the deputy commander of the Land Forces.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, citing sources in military circles, Russia has tried twice to kill Tantsiura, with the latest attempt having occurred on May 2.

The Territorial Defense is a military reserve force originating in the informal volunteer battalions created in response to Russia's 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine.

In January 2022, just before Russia's full-scale invasion, the reformed Territorial Defense Forces were officially included in the structure of Ukraine's Armed Forces, becoming a critical component of the country's defense against Russian aggression.

Though the differences have been blurred over the timeline of the full-scale war, the Territorial Defense Forces are usually the light infantry of the Ukrainian army, sometimes backed by armored vehicles and heavy artillery of other brigades, but without their own.

Trained in the heat of battle: The journey of Kharkiv Oblast’s Territorial Defense
Editor’s Note: Some of the soldiers interviewed in this piece declined to give their last names for security reasons or because they had relatives in occupied territory, and are identified by first names and callsigns instead. KHARKIV OBLAST – At an undisclosed part of the front line in Ukraine’s
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