The stunning Ukrainian counterattack was led by the general who organized the defense of Kyiv: who is he?

Belarusian opposition publication “Nasha niva” tells who this Ukrainian army commander is.

“Today we finish liberating Balaklia, the first major city in our offensive. And I am sure that this is not the last place… Today we officially finish the cleaning of this city and raise our national flag”, O. Syrskis said during the ceremony.

The Ukrainian military confiscated hundreds of pieces of equipment, ammunition and even documents. Moscow called this flight of its troops “regrouping”.

Originally from Russia

The idea of ​​striking Kupjansk while bypassing Izium and Balaklia turned out to be brilliant. The Russian front collapsed in three days.

The operational control of this great operation was carried out by the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, O. Syrskis.

O. Syrskis is the second most important in the Ukrainian army. He speaks fluent English, trains in the gym with his subordinates and is a living contrast to the Russian generals.

O. Syrski is 57 years old, he has been serving since 1986, and since 2019 commands the Ground Forces.

It is interesting that O. Syrskis comes from the Vladimir region of Russia. in 1982 he graduated from the Moscow Higher School of Commanders of the Joint Forces.

O. Syrskis still speaks Ukrainian with a very strong Russian accent.

in 1996 he graduated with honors from the Academy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (operational-tactical level), and in 2005 He graduated from the National Defense Academy of Ukraine (operational-strategic level) with a gold medal.

In the 1990s, he commanded the 72nd Mechanized Brigade. He was awarded the rank of major general.

Just before the beginning of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, in 2013 in November, he became the first deputy chief of the main command center of the Ukrainian army. It was O. Syrskis, who speaks English fluently, on behalf of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine at the headquarters of the NATO alliance, who discussed the transition of the Ukrainian army to NATO standards.

Ukrainian army photo/Oleksandrs Syrskis did a lot to bring the Ukrainian army closer to NATO standards

When hostilities began in eastern Ukraine, he was the chief of staff of the anti-terrorist operation.

Among O. Syrskis’ achievements are 2015. The withdrawal of the Ukrainian army from Debaltseve and the organization of the defense of Kyiv in the first stages of a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. days in February.

O. Syrskis was one of the main commanders of ATO forces in 2015. during the winter battles for Debalcevė. He participated in the battles in Vuhlehirsk, in the village of Redkodub, and unsuccessfully tried to recapture Logvinov. He also coordinated the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Debaltseve.

Ukrainian army photo/Oleksandras Syrskis in Debaltseve

Ukrainian army photo/Oleksandras Syrskis in Debaltseve

It was the “Bars” group formed by O. Syrskis that covered the exit of the Ukrainian army from Debaltseve.

O. Syrskis was awarded the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky 3rd degree for the battles at the Debaltseve bridgehead, he received the rank of lieutenant general and continued to climb the ladder of the military hierarchy.

in 2016 he became the head of the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Ukrainian Forces, which coordinated the actions of various Ukrainian force structures in Donbas. in 2017 he became the commander of the entire anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, later called Operation Joint Forces.

in 2019 he was appointed to command the Ukrainian infantry – he became the commander of the Ground Forces.

Impressive defense of Kyiv

It was O. Syrskis who led the successful defense of the Ukrainian capital, for which he was awarded the Star of the Hero of Ukraine in April.

“Frankly, I could not even imagine that the Russian leadership could launch such a brazen, large-scale aggression. It seemed to me that if active hostilities were to break out, they would probably start in the east, around or inside the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. But we are soldiers. So, regardless of what I believed or did not believe, I still performed the necessary actions,” O. Syrskis admitted to The Washington Post.

For the defense of Kyiv, O. Syrskis organized two defense rings – in the suburbs of the capital and on the outskirts of the city itself. According to the colonel general’s plan, the inner line of defense was to be as far as possible from the outer line, so that the Russian army could not fire artillery into the center of the capital.

About a week before the invasion, the Ukrainian army moved all its command posts. O. Syrskis also ordered the withdrawal of military aviation equipment, especially helicopters and airplanes, from the main bases.

O. Syrskis divided the city into sectors and appointed generals from military training centers to lead them. Tactical decisions were made by officers on the spot without consulting headquarters. About a week before the invasion, the Ukrainian army moved all its command posts. O. Syrskis also ordered the withdrawal of military aviation equipment, especially helicopters and airplanes, from the main bases.

Ukrainian army photo/Oleksandras Syrskis

Ukrainian army photo/Oleksandras Syrskis

During the battle for Kyiv, the defenders of Ukraine had only the 72nd separate mechanized brigade, its number of tanks was insufficient for a full-fledged defense of the city. O. Syrskis ordered all military training centers to create special improvised battalions. The colonel general also ordered the delivery of artillery systems normally used for training to Kyiv.

Already in 2021 in August, O. Syrskis warned that Russia may turn to open aggression.

“The political and military situation in Europe is intensifying. (…) A situation has arisen where the military and strategic situation has a tendency to further escalate. The total number of soldiers at the state border of Ukraine amounted to more than 100 thousand. Under the pretext of joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises, the movement and mobilization of military forces in various operational and strategic areas is taking place again. We understand that under certain conditions, Russia can move to open aggression,” the general said at the time.

The enormous influence of cooperation with NATO

O. Syrskis refutes Russian clichés about Ukrainian “nationalists” and “Nazis” in his biography. At the same time, it shows how much the changes in philosophy and ideology and methodical cooperation with NATO have given the Ukrainian army.

It was O. Syrskis who worked hard to improve the quality of management and training, and spoke a lot about changing the mentality and military thinking. The general presented NATO’s principles, attitudes and values, which changed the mentality of Ukrainian military thinking from template to creative.

Ukrainians completely got rid of the Soviet legacy and trained a new generation of qualified, proactive, leadership-like officers who do not need to coordinate every decision with the command post.

“In 2014 the Ukrainian nation chose to be a society guided by freedom, democracy and the rule of law – it chose the direction of Europe and NATO. Since then, we have been moving in this direction. Therefore, membership in the Alliance is not only a civilizational choice for us, but also vital for the existence of an independent Ukraine,” he said in an interview.

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