Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy named Oleksandr Syrskyi as Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, but who will he decide to replace Syrskyi as Ukraine’s Armed Forces Commander?
“I have had dozens of conversations with commanders of various levels,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address on Feb. 8 about his search for Syrskyi’s replacement.
“In particular, today I spoke with Brigadier Generals Andriy Hnatov, Mykhailo Drapatyi, Ihor Skibiuk, and Colonels Pavlo Palisa and Vadym Sukharevskyi,” he said.
“All of them are being considered for leadership positions in the army. And they will serve under the leadership of the most experienced Ukrainian commander, the battlefield commander, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi,” the President said.
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What is known about candidates for leadership positions in the Armed Forces:
Brigadier General Andriy Hnatov — Former Chief of Staff, Deputy Commander of the Southern Operational Command of Ukraine’s Ground Forces (from 2022); managed the defense of Mykolaiv and Bakhmut.
Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi — Former commander of the 58th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade and operational grouping of Kherson troops.
Brigadier General Ihor Skybiuk — Deputy Commander of the Airborne Assault Forces of Ukraine’s Armed Forces of Ukraine, Hero of Ukraine.
Colonel Pavlo Palisa — Commander of the Kholodnyi Yar 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade, defending Bakhmut since February 2023.
Colonel Vadym Sukharevskyi — Commander of the Yakov Handziuk 59th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade, which took part in the defense of Mykolaiv and the counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast.
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What is known about new Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi
As Commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi commanded Kyiv’s defense in the first weeks of Russia’s full-scale invasion. He had been appointed to this role shortly before the invasion.
Zelenskyy awarded the colonel-general with the title of Hero of Ukraine on April 5, 2022, after Russian troops withdrew from Kyiv Oblast.
Syrskyi was first educated in the military during Soviet times in Moscow, where he graduated from the Moscow Higher Military Command School in 1982. He moved to Ukraine in the early 1980s, and later graduated from the Academy of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1996, and from the Ukraine’s National Defense Academy in 2005.
Serving as the first deputy chief of the Main Command Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces shortly before the Revolution of Dignity, Syrskyi was one of Ukraine’s key military leaders responsible for cooperation with NATO and future reforms of the Armed Forces.
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He became chief of staff of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO — Ukraine’s designation of the war in Donbas from 2014 until Russia’s full-scale invasion) and deputy commander of ATO after disgraced former President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine, Crimea was illegally annexed, and Russian invaded Donbas in early 2014.
Syrskyi was one of the key Ukrainian commanders during the toughest ATO battles, including the battle for the Debaltseve bridgehead in Jan-Feb 2015. He led the battles in Vuhlehirsk, the village of Ridkodub, and an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Lohvynove. He also formed the “Bars” group, which covered the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the city of Debaltseve, according to military news outlet Defense Express.
He alternately headed the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2016-2019 (twice in different periods), the command of the Anti-Terrorist Operation, and the Operation of the Joint Forces in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (in May — August 2019).
Syrskyi was appointed commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces on August 5, 2019.
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General Zaluzhnyi’s resignation
Following a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Valerii Zaluzhnyi stepped down as the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and was replaced by Syrskyi, Zelenskyy announced on Feb. 8.
General Zaluzhnyi held the position since July 2021.
His resignation followed days of public debate over the soundness of his dismissal, following a bombshell Jan. 29 media report of a meeting between Zelenskyy and the general, where the president where the president was reported to have said that he wanted to fire Zaluzhnyi.
The decree was not signed immediately, however, and the disclosure of information about the meeting fueled a new round of discussions about the long history of the confrontation between Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi.
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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine