Oleksandr Syrskyi became the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces

Liza Brovko

Valery Zaluzhny was dismissed from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Oleksandr Syrskyi became the commander-in-chief instead.

"I have appointed Colonel-General Syrskyi as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," the president said in his evening address.

According to him, he expects a realistic detailed action plan of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2024, which takes into account the real situation on the battlefield and prospects, should appear "on the table".

In addition, from today, a new management team begins to lead the Armed Forces. Zelensky held "dozens of conversations" with commanders of various levels. In particular, today I spoke with Brigadier Generals Andriy Hnatov, Mykhailo Drapaty, and Igor Skybyuk, as well as with Colonels Pavel Palisa and Vadym Sukharevskyi. They are being considered for leadership positions in the army.

Before that, Volodymyr Zelensky met with Valery Zaluzhny. They discussed updating the leadership of the Armed Forces, the president offered Zaluzhny to "continue to be in the team."

What preceded this?

On the evening of January 28, 2024, a number of Telegram channels, such as Trukha, as well as Verkhovna Rada deputy Oleksiy Goncharenko and journalist Roman Tsimbalyuk, wrote about the dismissal of Valery Zaluzhny from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. There was no corresponding decree on the presidentʼs website. Subsequently, the media began to write about the dismissal with reference to sources.

"Babel" sources in the security forces reported before that that Zaluzhnyi was planned to be released by February 1, and among the most likely candidates for his place was the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense, Kyryll Budanov. On January 28, some sources told about the order to release Zaluzhny, and some denied it. No one could confirm 100% the fact of dismissal.

At 20:00 of the same day, the spokesman of the president, Serhii Nikiforov, assured the media that Zaluzhnyi would not be fired. Closer to 9:00 p.m., Volodymyr Zelenskyi addressed Ukrainians with a traditional evening address, in which he did not mention Zaluzhny at all.

The next day, January 29, a number of Ukrainian and Western media, in particular CNN, wrote that the release of Zaluzhny is a matter of time and it has already been agreed. CNN then added to its story, indicating that the chiefʼs dismissal would be announced within days.

  • The other day, Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi wrote an article that the most important task for this year will be to adopt a new point of view on the forms and methods of using the Defense Forces for victory, as well as to create a new design of military operations.
  • Oleksandr Syrskyi was the commander of the Ground Forces before his appointment as the head commissar. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, he became the commander of the defense of Kyiv. For the defense of the capital and the liberation of the north of Ukraine, he was awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky II degree. Since the summer of 2022, he was one of the commanders of the counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, as a result of which the invaders were pushed back from Kharkiv. In the fall of 2022 — spring of 2023, he managed the defense of Soledar and Bakhmut, in 2022-2023 he was the commander of the Khortytsya Air Force Base.