The Ukrainian army continues to repulse the Russian army trying to encircle Avdivka

Who is General Oleksandr Chirsky, the new commander of the army?

Oleksandr Syrsky, 58, has been commander of the Ukrainian army since 2019 after leading military operations in eastern Ukraine in 2014 in the face of a pro-Russian separatist offensive.

He was born in 1965 in the Soviet Union, in the Vladimir region, today in Russia. Like many top soldiers of his generation, he completed his military studies at the Higher Combined Arms Command School in Moscow. Since the 1980s, it has been used in Ukraine, then a republic of the Soviet Union.

With the fall of the Soviet Empire, he did not return to Russia, joining the ranks of the newly independent Ukraine's fledgling army and continuing his studies at the National Defense University in Kiev. In the 2000s, he commanded 72e A mechanized regiment of the Ukrainian army based in Bila Cherkva, about a hundred kilometers south of Kiev. He was promoted to general in 2009, and then in 2013 he participated in the development of cooperation with NATO.

In 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and then fueled a separatist conflict in the east of the country, Moscow became one of the leaders of efforts to prevent it from taking control of the entire Donbass. In early 2015, he had to coordinate a difficult retreat from the town of Debaltseve, a key railway junction where the Ukrainians faced overwhelming numbers of forces.

Two years later, he became commander of all operations in the east, where the front line was now frozen. The war there has since become a low-intensity conflict, and will remain so until the Russian invasion begins on February 24, 2022.

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He is credited with some of Ukraine's major victories over the Russian military in the past two years. He oversaw the defense of Kew at the start of the Russian offensive. In early April 2022, a few days after the Russians retreated from the Kyiv region, Volodymyr Zelensky awarded him the title of “Hero of Ukraine”, the highest national honor.

Six months later, in the fall of 2022, Oleksandr Chirsky was still in charge when the Ukrainian army inflicted a second insult on Moscow by chasing the invader from the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine. But the general did not become a national symbol. According to a December 2023 survey, 48% of respondents said that unlike MM, who rarely makes headlines, Mr. They said they did not know Sirsky. Zalushny and Zelensky.

Not very attractive, Oleksandr Chirsky is not an office man, according to his services. Even in the trenches, the army immediately broadcasts pictures of him, armed and wearing a helmet, shaking hands with soldiers or laughing with them. Some criticize his approach, which they see as too similar to that of the commanders of the Soviet Union, and accuse him of being aloof.

Very discreet about his personal life, he is married and the father of two sons, an army spokesman said.

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