Oleksandr Syrskyithe man Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed on Thursday to lead the armed forces of the country has had a key role in some of Ukraine's greatest victories in its war with Russia, including leading the successful defense of the capital in the first days of the invasion.
El general Oleksandr Syrskyi, who had been commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, assumes the main position in hard momment. Now that the war is about to enter its third year, morale is lowthe army is facing a shortage of ammunition and personnel and kyiv is struggling to maintain support from the West.
Syrskyi's choice as commander-in-chief is not a surprise, since few Ukrainian military have the experience and the skills needed to take the place of his popular predecessor, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Syrskyi's successes on the battlefield have earned him the support of his soldiers, who have been fighting tough battles for two years.
The defense of kyiv
Syrskyi, 58, is credited with initially organizing the defense of kyiv in February 2022, when many in Ukraine were still They rejected Western warnings that a Russian attack seemed imminent. He later received the Hero of Ukraine award, the country's highest decoration, for his role in repelling Moscow's advance on the capital.
Oleksandr Syrskyi, 58 years old. Photo: Bloomberg
In September 2022, to Syrskyi He was credited with organizing the counteroffensive in the Kharkiv regionwhich was the most significant Ukrainian victory in the war and allowed kyiv to recover the cities of Kupiansk and Izium from the Russians.
Also led the Bakhmut operation, which was the longest and bloodiest of the war and which has been criticized for the heavy losses suffered by Ukrainian forces. But the tactic of immobilizing Russian forces in that strategically insignificant mining town also depleted Russian troops and resources, undermining their ability to make major gains elsewhere.
The war enters the most difficult phase
While triumphs become wear and tear on the frontSyrskyi has had to oversee the most difficult phase of the war, which will enter its third year at the end of this month.
Shortages of ammunition and fresh personnel threaten to weaken Ukrainian lines as the Russians anticipate a breakthrough. The main objective of the Ukrainian forces this winter has been to maintain the territory they controlwhile much-needed US military aid is held up in Congress, jeopardizing kyiv's military planning.
Zelensky junto a Oleksandr Syrskyi (left) Bajmut. Photo: AFP
Syrskyi was born in 1965 in the Soviet Union. He attended the Moscow Higher Military Command School and served in the Soviet Artillery Corps. Observers say his style combines the hierarchical character of Soviet military strategy with NATO's principles of operational flexibility.
Defined as an obsessive planner with iron discipline, Syrskyi was commander of ground operations in eastern Ukraine and played an important role in the 2014 war, when Russia annexed Crimea.
Translation: Elisa Carnelli