How Ukraine's military strategy changes with Oleksandr Syrsky, the new commander

Bad news for the Ukrainian troops, at least according to Western newspapers such as the Telegraph, the Guardian but also others, which have picked up the news and comments spread on Telegram channels and Ukrainian bloggers, of the appointment of General Oleksandr Syrsky as the new commander in chief of the armed forces of Kiev in place of General Valery Zaluzhny, who pays for a prudent attitude and for having wisely withdrawn and then redeployed the units of the Ukrainian Tenth Army Corps equipped with Leopard tanks and Bradley armored fighting vehicles, following heavy losses suffered in the Zaporizhia sector. According to these same sources, Syrsky, nicknamed Kotlovoy due to his past, which means cruel, heartless, would not be the right man to face this phase of the war with Moscow, since, at least according to what the Economist reports, another critical newspaper with the choice, the general would be the type to sacrifice men and means without scruples and above all too close to the Ukrainian politicians, so much so that he would obey Zalensky without ever even attempting a dialogue or raising objections.

Born in 1965 in Novinki, Russia with the name Aleksander (the “O” is later and in the Ukrainian language), a student of the Institute for Multi-Force Military High Command in Moscow (Moskovskoye VVOKU), blogs describe him as a person who in the past it has shown itself to be indifferent to human losses in combat and even co-responsible for the loss of several excellent army officers, as well as the decision maker in the failed counteroffensive attempt last summer. Moscow then considers him a traitor, since he has Russian origins, studied in the military academies of Moscow and is the son of a decorated and now retired colonel, on whom he allegedly turned his back, so much so that he no longer has contact with his family.

Politics and obedience aside, one therefore wonders why Zelensky considered him a valid person on a military level enough to entrust him with the armed forces, and the answer would lie in the success of the initial battles for the defense of the capital and for the Kharkiv offensive, canceling with a clean sweep of the disaster combined in Debaltsevo in February 2015, in the midst of the Donbass war, where the officer lost three thousand men and a good part of the arsenal. Furthermore, with his predecessor Zaluzhny, there was no lack of friction in other battles (such as in Soledar), in which the now former head of the Ukrainian army had recommended a tactical retreat while Syrsky decided to sacrifice a thousand units in vain. In short, a type who would consider any retreat cowardly rather than a possible strategy to save forces, reorganize them and then counterattack from different and better strategic positions.

We will see it soon, since the idea emerging from the Telegrams seems to be that of a next advance near Avdiivka, a town just north of the center of Donetsk, to try to prevent the Russian forces from completing the encirclement of the important town . A strategy that his predecessor Zaluzhny was against, leaning towards a temporary withdrawal. But to do this, Syrsky will have to move troops from other positions and the Russians will obviously take advantage of the situation. Thus in Ukraine the rumor is circulating with ever greater insistence that the decision last year to continue fighting in Bakhmut despite Western military advisors and Zaluzhny himself having asked Zelensky to be able to withdraw, was taken to show at the NATO summit in Vilnius 2023 that Ukrainian forces were achieving victorious results. It therefore appears increasingly clear that in trying to maintain Western aid, especially today with the changed and ambiguous position of the United States, Zelensky has no problem sacrificing soldiers. And then celebrate them by calling them heroes.