His fame as the ‘Hero of Ukraine’ is due to his success in the defense of Kiev in February 2022, when his men managed to block the Russian attempt to take the capital in a few days
A new leader for Ukraine’s armed forces in the war against Russia. President Volodymyr Zelensky ‘fires’ General Valerii Zaluzhny and entrusts command to Oleksandr Syrsky. Born in the Vladimir region of Russia in July 1965, the general He has lived in Ukraine since the 1980s. Like many men of his era, he studied in Moscow at the Higher Military Command School, graduating in 1986 and serving for five years in the Soviet Artillery Corps.
Having become head of the ground forces in 2019, he fought in the war in Donbass between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian armed forces that erupted in 2014, earning him the nickname “Snow Leopard”. But his fame as the ‘Hero of Ukraine’ is due to his success in the defense of Kiev in February 2022, when his men managed to block the Russian attempt to take the capital in a few days.
And it was he who planned and led the counter-offensive with which the Russian troops were repelled from Kharkiv the following July, reconquering territories in the east and south-east. And Syrsky again led the strenuous defense of Bakhmut last year, which cost the lives of thousands of men on both sides.
Despite his successes, he is not as iconic and beloved a figure as Zaluzhny, so much so that according to a survey conducted last December, 48% of Ukrainians had never heard of him.
He has always considered the morale of the troops, whom he regularly visits at the front, to be his priority. He says he sleeps four and a half hours a night and relaxes by doing gymnastics. He is married and has two children.