Oleksandr Syrskyi

Ukrainian military officer (born 1965)

Олександр Сирський
Official portrait, 2021
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 February 2024PresidentVolodymyr ZelenskyyPrime MinisterDenys ShmyhalPreceded byValerii ZaluzhnyiCommander of the Ukrainian Ground ForcesIn office
5 August 2019 – 11 February 2024PresidentVolodymyr ZelenskyyPrime MinisterVolodymyr Groysman
Oleksiy Honcharuk
Denys ShmyhalPreceded bySerhiy PopkoSucceeded byOleksandr Pavliuk Personal detailsBorn
Aleksandr Syrskyi

(1965-07-26) 26 July 1965 (age 58)
Novinki, Russian SFSR, Soviet UnionChildren2Alma materMoscow Higher Military Command SchoolAwards
Nickname(s)Snow Leopard[1]
Butcher[2][3][4]
[5]
General 200[6][7]Military serviceAllegiance
Branch/service Ukrainian Ground ForcesYears of service1986–presentRankColonel generalCommandsUkrainian Ground Forces, 2019–Battles/wars

Oleksandr Stanislavovych Syrskyi (Ukrainian: Олександр Станіславович Сирський; born 26 July 1965) is a Ukrainian military officer. Holding the rank of colonel general, he has served as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 8 February 2024.[10] Previously, he was the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces from 2019 to 2024, and the commander of the Joint Forces Operation from May to August 2019.

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Syrskyi commanded the defence of Kyiv. In September 2022, he commanded the Kharkiv counteroffensive.[11] He then led the defense of Bakhmut into 2023.[12]

Biography

Early life and career

Syrskyi was born on July 26, 1965[13] in the village of Novinki, Vladimir Oblast, Russian SFSR, then in the Soviet Union[14] into a military family[15] of ethnic Russians. As of 2023, his parents and brother live in Russia.[16][17][18][19]

In 1980, when Syrskyi was 15, his father was transferred to serve in the Soviet Armed Forces in Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR.[20] Syrskyi graduated from high school in Kharkov and entered the Moscow Higher Military Command School, the Soviet Union’s leading higher military educational institution. After his graduation in 1986, Syrskyi joined the Soviet Artillery Corps. He initially served in a self-propelled artillery unit equipped with the 152 mm 2S5 Giatsint-S and 203 mm 2S7 Pion self propelled howitzers, including in units earmarked to fire nuclear shells. He later served in Rocket Artillery units fielding the BM-27 Uragan MBRL. He served in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Czechoslovakia until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.[21]

In 1993, following the dissolution of the USSR, Syrskyi’s military unit in Chuhuiv was transferred under Ukrainian command, and he was quickly promoted to a position of a regiment commander (equivalent to the rank of colonel).[22] In 1996 he graduated from the National Defense University of Ukraine, and in 2005 he received a graduate degree from the same university. [23]

In the early 2000s, he was promoted to the commander of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, based in Bila Tserkva and promoted to the rank of major-general.[13] In 2007 he was appointed as a Chief of Staff – first deputy of United Operative Commander of Ukrainian Armed Forces. In 2011-2012 he was first deputy of Main Direcotorate of military collaboration and peace-keeping operations.[24] In 2013 he was stationed at NATO's headquarters in Brussels.[20]

Syrskyi is married to a Ukrainian woman,[25] and has two sons. One of them was adopted and lives in Australia.[26][25]

War in Donbas

At the beginning of the war in Eastern Ukraine, he was the chief of staff of anti-terrorist operations.[27] In particular, he was one of the chief commanders of the anti-terrorist operation forces during the battle of Debaltseve. In the winter of 2015, he went to the city with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko. He led the battles in Vuhlehirsk, the village of Ridkodub and an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Lohvynove. He also coordinated the withdrawal of the Ukrainian military from Debaltseve.[28] Under his leadership, possible routes of crossing the Karapulka River were blown up.

Oleksandr Syrskyi was awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky III degree and later received the rank of lieutenant-general due to his achievement during the battle of Debaltseve.[29][28] In 2016, he headed the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which coordinates the operational actions of various Ukrainian security forces in the Donbas. In 2017, he was the commander of the entire Anti-Terrorist Operation in eastern Ukraine. It was later replaced by the Joint Forces Operation.[30][31]

From 6 May to 5 August 2019 he was the commander of the Joint Operational Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[32][33]

Since 5 August 2019, Syrskyi has been the Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[34][35] On 23 August 2020, he was promoted to the rank of colonel general.[36] The rank is no longer awarded in the Ukrainian army since 1 October 2020, but Syrskyi retained it, being at this moment the only Ukrainian military officer left in active service to hold this particular rank.[citation needed]

Russian invasion of Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with Oleksandr Syrskyi at the headquarters of the Defense Forces in Kupyansk, Kharkiv region on 30 November 2023

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Syrskyi initially organised and led the defense of Kyiv.[37]

Syrskyi with Valerii Zaluzhnyi (right) during the battle for Kyiv, 2022

In April 2022, Syrskyi was given the Hero of Ukraine award for his efforts. In September 2022, media reported that Syrskyi was the architect behind the successful Kharkiv counteroffensive.[38][39]

During the war, Syrskyi was criticized for pursuing bloody Soviet-style military tactics which resulted in significant Ukrainian losses during the Battle of Bakhmut,[40] and was nicknamed "General 200" (a reference to Cargo 200, a Soviet military code denoting military fatalities).[40]

On 8 February 2024, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy replaced Valerii Zaluzhnyi with Syrskyi as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, following months of speculation of a rift between Zaluzhnyi and Zelenskyy.[41]

On 17 February 2024, as his first major decision as commander-in-chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi ordered the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka to "more favourable lines" in order "to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of service personnel".

Military ranks

Awards

References

  1. ^ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/2/9/who-is-colonel-general-oleksandr-syrsky-ukraines-new-army-chief
  2. ^ https://www.politico.com/newsletters/national-security-daily/2024/02/08/zaluzhny-is-out-the-butcher-is-in-00140206
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/08/world/europe/ukraine-russia-war-oleksandr-syrsky.html
  4. ^ https://www.politico.eu/article/oleksandr-syrskyi-ukraine-commander-in-chief-butcher-volodymyr-zelenskyy-war-russia/#:~:text=That%20was%20highlighted%20by%20Syrskyi,gruesome%20nickname%20of%20%22Butcher.%22
  5. ^ https://www.thedailybeast.com/zelensky-taps-oleksandr-syrskyi-dubbed-the-butcher-as-commander-in-chief
  6. ^ https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/10/europe/syrskyi-ukraine-challenges-war-intl/index.html
  7. ^ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/ukrainian-president-zelenskyy-takes-command-of-countrys-armed-forces-amid-escalating-military-tensions/articleshow/107600663.cms?from=mdr
  8. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64864496
  9. ^ "Who is Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of Ukraine's ground forces?". The Economist. 8 June 2023. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  10. ^ Walker, Shaun (8 February 2024). "Volodymyr Zelenskiy fires top Ukraine army commander". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 February 2024. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  11. ^ Ministry of Defence of Ukraine [@DefenceU] (10 September 2022). "[...] The Commander of Ukrainian Land Forces, Hero of Ukraine, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi is leading the Ukrainian offensive in this sector. [...]" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 11 September 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Five facts about Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine's new army chief". Reuters.
  13. ^ a b "Сьогодні святкує ювілей Командувач Сухопутних військ ЗС України". Defense Express (in Ukrainian). 26 July 2020. Archived from the original on 23 November 2021. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Who is Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of Ukraine's ground forces?". The Economist. 8 June 2023.
  15. ^ ""War mathematician." Who is the new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexander Syrsky". BBC Russian Service. 9 February 2024.
  16. ^ ""They call him the butcher " What will happen to the Armed Forces of Ukraine after Zaluzhny leaves". RIA Novosti (in Russian). 9 February 2024.
  17. ^ "Parents of the new commander in chief Syrsky's Armed Forces still live in Russia". Moskovsky Komsomolets (in Russian). 8 February 2024.
  18. ^ "Syrsky tried to transfer to the Russian army. But he was afraid to fight in Chechnya". Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). 9 February 2024.
  19. ^ Березин, Иван (10 February 2024). "Зеленский утвердил указы о вводе Сырского в состав Ставки и СНБО". Главный региональный.
  20. ^ a b Who is Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of Ukraine's ground forces? Archived 2023-07-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Economist, Jun 8th 2023
  21. ^ Christopher Miller; Ben Hall (8 February 2024). "Who is Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine's new top military commander?". ft.com. Financial Times. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  22. ^ "Полководец Сырский. Чем известен командующий Сухопутными войсками Украины". РБК-Украина (in Russian). 29 September 2022. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  23. ^ Zakharchenko, Kateryna (9 February 2024). "Oleksandr Syrsky: A Quick Guide to Ukraine's New Commander-in-Chief". Kyiv Post.
  24. ^ "«Генерал 200» и «бахмутский мясник»: что известно о новом главкоме ВСУ Александре Сырском". Коммерсантъ (in Russian). 9 February 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  25. ^ a b "Волочится за россиянками и прячет сына от войны: стыдные факты о главкоме ВСУ Сырском". 78.ru.
  26. ^ ""Иди ты нахрен, подлец": сын нового главкома ВСУ Сырского не общается с отцом". ug.tsargrad.tv. 10 February 2024.
  27. ^ "Порошенко призначив Олександра Сирського новим командувачем ООС: що про нього відомо". 24 Канал (in Ukrainian). 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Новий командир на Донбасі: що відомо про генерала Сирського". BBC News Україна (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  29. ^ "УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ №144/2015". Офіційне інтернет-представництво Президента України (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  30. ^ "Операцію Об'єднаних сил замість Наєва очолив Сирський – Новинарня". novynarnia.com (in Ukrainian). 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  31. ^ "Призначення нового командуючого ООС генерала Сирського: хто він і що це означає?". ukrinform.ua (in Ukrainian). 7 May 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
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  33. ^ Свобода, Радіо (6 May 2019). "Порошенко призначив новим командувачем Об'єднаних сил Олександра Сирського". Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 December 2021.
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  35. ^ "Олександр Сирський, командувач Сухопутних військ ЗСУ, генерал-полковник". ukrinform.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  36. ^ "УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ №346/2020". Офіційне інтернет-представництво Президента України (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  37. ^ Sonne, Paul; Khurshudyan, Isabelle (24 August 2022). "Battle for Kyiv: Ukrainian valor, Russian blunders combined to save the capital". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  38. ^ "Oleksandr Syrskyi, o coronel-general que está a orquestrar a contraofensiva na Ucrânia".
  39. ^ "Russia Confirms Flight of Troops from Ukraine's Kharkiv Area". Bloomberg.com. 10 September 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  40. ^ a b "Zaluzhny is out, the 'butcher' is in". Politico. 8 February 2024. Retrieved 9 February 2023. This person added that Ukrainian troops have given Syrskyi a gruesome nickname: "Butcher." The captain confirmed that the nickname has stuck, as has "General200" — which stands for 200 dead on the battlefield.
  41. ^ "Ukraine replaces army chief in shakeup at difficult time in war with Russia". Reuters. 8 February 2024.
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External links

  • General Syrskyi in liberated Balaklia in Kharkiv Oblast on YouTube (10 September 2022)
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