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Commander Syrskyi’s defense strategy draws mixed reviews amid family ties – The Guardian

Oleksandr Syrskyi
Oleksandr Syrskyi

Ukraine’s newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, is causing concern not only due to his reputation as a “Soviet-style” general with little regard for his troops’ lives but also because of his relatives in Russia, The Guardian reported on Feb. 9.

Read also: Germany’s highest-ranking military officers visit Kyiv at Zaluzhnyi’s invitation on day of his dismissal, meet Syrskyi

Formerly the commander of the land forces, Syrskyi is credited with masterminding the defense of Kyiv at the war’s outset and the successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast in late 2022.

However, he has also faced criticism for persisting in the ultimately failed defense of Bakhmut, resulting in significant casualties.

Read also: Former British Army Colonel: Syrskyi is 'forceful general' who will capably steer Ukraine through 'tough times ahead'

In a statement on Feb 9, Syrskyi sought to address this criticism, stating, “The life and health of servicemen have always been and are the main value of the Ukrainian army.”

Syrskyi, who was born in Russia’s Vladimir Oblast and attended the Moscow high military command school before relocating to Ukraine in the 1980s, still has close family residing in Russia. His brother Oleg, when contacted by the Russian state news agency Ria, claimed to have no knowledge of Syrskyi’s whereabouts or activities.

On the social network Odnoklassniki, Syrskyi’s 82-year-old mother, Lyudmila, has been observed frequently “liking” posts supportive of Russia’s invasion.

Read also: Head of the Ukrainian Center for Security and Cooperation discusses reasons for Syrsky appointment

While Zelenskyy’s office has portrayed Syrskyi as someone who could bring a fresh approach to the battlefield, specifics have not been provided.

Presidential office’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak emphasized the need for direct answers to pressing questions in light of the current situation, stating, “Now it’s 2024, it can’t just be a year that we sit and wait for something to happen in Russia.”

On Feb. 8, Zelenskyy, by his decree, dismissed Valerii Zaluzhnyi from the position of the chief, which he held for over 2.5 years, appointing Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi in his place.

Syrskyi outlined the following priorities:

  • clear and detailed planning of the all military administration bodies actions taking into account the needs of the front in the latest weapons, the “fastest and the most rational” distribution of everything necessary for combat units

  • availability of information about all the needs of the front and the situation in each its area

  • maintaining a balance between the performance of combat missions and the restoration of units, and units with enhanced trainings

  • introduction of new technical solutions, scaling of the unmanned systems and means of electronic warfare (EW) use.

Zelenskyy also announced that the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine would be renewed. According to him, this is being done to involve the experience of combat commanders, reboot the generals, and change approaches to rotation, front management, mobilization, and recruitment.

The president announced the decision after a week of rumors about Zaluzhnyi’s resignation and reports of conflict with the chief, which began to reappear in November 2023 after two resonant articles by Time and The Economist and a series of events that followed.

Read also: Zelenskyy overhauls Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, reshuffles top military leadership

WP earlier reported that the possible reason for Zaluzhnyi’s resignation could be differences over different views on mobilization in Ukraine.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi was awarded the title Hero of Ukraine.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine