General Oleksandr Syrskyi replaced General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi as Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces on 8 February 2024. Together with this change, the most important figures of the General Staff were also changed.
“Today, I spent the entire day in meetings with military leadership and the Government. We continue to reboot the management team in the Armed Forces. Now, people who are well-known in the army and who themselves know well what the army needs are taking on new responsibilities. Combat commanders of this war, whose experience will be useful at the all-army level,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address.
In particular, Zelenskyy appointed Anatoliy Barhylevych as the new Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Before that, Barhylevych headed the Territorial Defense Forces.
Generals Volodymyr Horbatyuk, Mykhailo Drapatyy, and Oleksiy Shevchenko, who led combat brigades on the eastern front, were appointed Barhylevych’s deputies. Horbatiuk will focus on operational work, Shevchenko on logistics, and Drapatyi will focus on training the Ukrainian military.
Colonels Vadym Sukharevskyi and Andriy Lebedenko were appointed deputies of the Commander-in-Chief. Sukharevskyi, in particular, took responsibility for developing unmanned combat systems and drones. Lebedenko will focus on innovations and technologies in the army.
New Commander-in-Chief is credited in Ukraine for successful operations to defend Kyiv and counterattack near Kharkiv in 2022. At the same time, the decision to dismiss previous Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi sparked criticism from part of Ukrainian society. Zaluzhnyi had the highest trust among Ukrainian top officials, according to the polls.
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