Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has gained a formidable reputation as a military leader during the war with Russia. However, he faces significant challenges, including mobilizing new forces and combating corruption within the ranks.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently fired most of his top generals in an effort to reset the management of Ukraine’s undermanned and undersupplied armed forces. This unprecedented action reflects Zelenskyy’s style of governance, as he has frequently made sweeping changes since coming to power in 2019.
The dismissed generals, including the former commander-in-chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, have been replaced by Syrskyi. Some have described Syrskyi as a “butcher” with little regard for human life. The scale of dismissals is a response to the failure of last year’s counteroffensive, corruption scandals, and chaotic management of the armed forces.
The new top military commanders face numerous challenges, with mobilization being a top priority. However, significant challenges remain, including delays in Western military aid and combating corruption within the ranks.
Syrskyi has been credited with significant successes, including the defense of Kyiv and clandestine operations in the eastern Kharkiv region. However, concerns have been raised about his tactics, with some servicemen complaining about neglecting human losses and harsher leadership.
Overall, the new top brass faces a daunting task as they seek to address the challenges facing Ukraine’s armed forces and maintain their effectiveness in the face of ongoing conflict with Russia.