- Oleksandr Syrskyi, in his first public comments since being appointed the new commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces on Thursday, said that a fresh approach is needed on the battlefield for Ukraine to achieve success in the conflict with Russia.1
- Laying out his priorities, the newly promoted general said: 'New tasks are on the agenda. First of all, it is clear and detailed planning of actions of all military administration bodies, associations, formations and units, taking into account the needs of the contact zone for the latest weapons that come from international partners.'2
- 'The fastest and most efficient distribution and delivery of everything necessary for combat units was and remains the main task of military logistics,' he added.2
- Syrskyi, Russian-born, graduated from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1986 before becoming a platoon commander in the Ukrainian region of Poltava when the country was still part of the Soviet Union. He then proceeded to rise through the ranks of the country's military. In 2019, he became commander of Ukraine's ground forces — the second-highest military role.3
- According to reports, he has a reputation among troops for being a Soviet-style commander who's willing to put large numbers of soldiers at risk to achieve military goals — earning him the nickname of 'the butcher.' One soldier, speaking anonymously to Politico, commented: 'Syrskyi will kill us all.'4
- Seemingly in an attempt to allay those concerns, in his statement on Friday, he said: 'The life and health of servicemen have always been and are the main value of the Ukrainian army.' His remarks also focused on upgrading drone and electronic warfare capabilities, stating: 'Only changes and constant improvement of the means and methods of warfare will make it possible to achieve success on this path.'1
- Narrative A, as provided by Guardian. Syrskyi is disciplined, decisive, and determined to secure a Ukrainian victory in this war. He was responsible for Ukraine's successful defense of Kyiv at the outset of the conflict, as well as driving Russia out of the Kharkiv region months later. He is the right man for this role.
- Narrative B, as provided by POLITICO. Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's decision to replace one of the most popular leaders in Ukraine with Syrskyi could seriously backfire. He is known for his harsh tactics and his appointment has already had a negative impact on troop morale. If he fails, it could spell the end of both his and Zelenskyy's careers.