February 8, 2024

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:  new management for Ukraine’s military

Ukraine Defense Ministry

Dear Ukrainians!

Today I met with Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

This was one of hundreds of conversations we had during this war. Almost two years of continuous analysis of each situation.

We discussed the frontline. Threats, directions, all the challenges. Avdiivka – the extraordinary actions of our warriors and the extraordinary difficulties in defending the city. The Zaporizhzhia direction. A very tough one. Southern directions. Challenges of the Kharkiv region. And our capabilities. Ukraine’s capabilities this year. During the third year of the full-scale war.

We must make this year a crucial one. Crucial for achieving Ukraine’s goals in the war. Russia cannot simply accept the existence of an independent Ukraine – the very fact of our country’s independent life. But Russia will have to come to terms with our strength.

The experience of two years of this war has convinced us that it is only Russia’s defeats that bring peace closer.

Each year of this war has its own nature.

We withstood the first year. We started to reclaim our ground. We proved to the world that Russia can lose. In the second year of this war, we won the Black Sea. We won the winter. We proved that we can regain control of the Ukrainian sky. But, unfortunately, we failed to achieve the goals of our state on land.

We have to be honest – the feeling of stagnation specifically in the southern directions and the difficulties in the battles in the Donetsk region have affected the public mood. Ukrainians are speaking of victory less often. However, the Ukrainian spirit has not lost faith in victory. Ukraine retains its historic chance. It is our duty to realize it.

This year should be the time of Ukraine – the time when every Ukrainian warrior will know, as before, that the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian army are capable of winning.

I am grateful to General Zaluzhnyi for two years of defense. I am grateful for every victory we have achieved together and thanks to all Ukrainian warriors who heroically bear the brunt of this war.

Today we had a frank discussion about the changes needed in the army. Urgent changes.

I offered General Zaluzhnyi to continue to be part of the Ukrainian state team. I would be grateful for his consent.

Today I have decided to renew the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

This is not about surnames. And certainly not about politics. This is about the system of our army, about management in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and about attracting the experience of battlefield commanders of this war. Every soldier, every sergeant, and every officer who sees the frontline understands what decisions are needed. The army’s actions must become much more technologically advanced. The generalship must be reset. Headquarters at all levels must know and feel the frontline just like soldiers at the forefront.

The battlefield commanders of this war, the commanders from the forefront must realize their special experience at the level of the entire army – in leadership positions.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces are now almost a million people who were called up to defend our country. As of today, the majority of them have not felt the frontline in the same way as the minority who are actually at the forefront, actually fighting.

This means that we need a different approach to rotations in particular. A different approach to frontline management. A different approach to mobilization and recruitment.

All this will give more respect to the soldier. And restore clarity to actions in the war.

Fellow Ukrainians!

Starting today, a new management team takes over the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

I want our warriors in Robotyne or Avdiivka, the General Staff and the Staff to have the same vision of the war.

Everyone whose experience will now serve the renewal of the Armed Forces is being carefully selected.

I have had dozens of conversations with commanders of various levels. In particular, today I spoke with Brigadier Generals Andriy Hnatov, Mykhailo Drapatyi, Ihor Skibiuk, and Colonels Pavlo Pallisa and Vadym Sukharevskyi.

All of them are being considered for leadership positions in the army. And they will serve under the leadership of the most experienced Ukrainian commander, the battlefield commander, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi. He has successful experience in defense – he led the Kyiv defense operation. He also has a successful experience of the offensive – the Kharkiv liberation operation. I have appointed Colonel General Syrskyi as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Today I spoke with Generals Moysiuk and Zabrodskyi. Their experience will serve the country.

I expect the following changes in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the near future:

A realistic, detailed action plan for the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2024 must be presented. It must take into account the real situation on the battlefield now and the prospects.

Each combat brigade on the first line must receive effective Western weapons, and there must be a fair redistribution of such weapons in favor of the first line.

The logistics problems must be resolved. Avdiivka must not wait for the generals to find out which warehouses the drones are stuck in.

Every general must know the front. If a general does not know the front, he does not serve Ukraine.

The excessive and unjustified number of personnel in the headquarters must be adjusted.

An effective rotation system must be established in the army. The experience of certain combat brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and units of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, where such a system is in place, can be used as a basis. Rotations are a must.

There is an obvious need to improve the quality of training for the warriors – only trained soldiers can be on the front line.

A new type of forces is being created in the structure of the Armed Forces – the Unmanned Systems Forces. The first commander is to be appointed.

Commander-in-Chief Syrskyi will present the team for resetting the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the coming days.

The year 2024 can be a successful one for Ukraine only if effective changes are made in the core of our defense, which is the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We are all proud of our army. And we must do everything in our power to make the Ukrainian army a victorious army.

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