Zaluzhny Finally Dismissed as Chaos Reigns in AFU
It finally happened, Zelensky has let Zaluzhny go, replacing him with Syrsky:
Defense Minister Umerov issued his own statement:
There’s a lot to unpack. Let’s start with the mentions in the video above of needing a general who is on the frontline, and who understands the Avdeevka situation, as well as others, deeply. This appears to be a riff on the stereotype that Zelensky/Yermak and their team were trying to seed the ground with, characterizing Zaluzhny as someone who ‘never leaves his office’. These are just small, subtle threads in the narrative fabric they attempted to weave together to undermine Zaluzhny. In reality, there’s no real evidence that Zaluzhny behaved in the way they accuse him of.
Following this news, a meltdown of epic proportions has ensued in the Ukrainian commentariat—the top names and influencers are not taking this news well:
WaPo, Der Spiegel, and Telegraph reporter:
You can see the reactions in one of Ukraine’s largest channels below:
And why are they not taking the news in stride? Many believe that Syrsky is hated by the Ukrainian troops, particularly those on the frontlines.
This is from a pro-Ukrainian thread:
He’s being called a ‘butcher’ and is known in other circles as a meat-grinder who refused to give an inch in Bakhmut while calling for frontal meat-assaults, leading to the extermination of an entire field army group.
Zelensky on the other hand praises him for his grand achievements: the Kiev “defense” and the Kharkov offensive. Unfortunately, as sector commander in 2015, he was also reportedly responsible for the infamous Debaltsevo cauldron:
We have collected the most famous operations of Syrsky, the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:
Bakhmut-2022 All these operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ended in encirclement and defeat for them. Two majors.
A more detailed explanation:
In 2014, after the start of the war in Donbass, Major General Syrsky was appointed chief of staff - first deputy head of the ATO. Many Ukrainian officers blamed Syrsky for the huge losses that the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered in the Debaltseve cauldron in early 2015 and gave him the nickname “Kotlovoy General.” According to various sources, more than 3,000 soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were killed in the city of Debaltsevo and its environs, and almost all artillery and armored vehicles were lost. Even by the standards of a larger NWO, these losses are significant. They believed that if the general had given the order to retreat in time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces would not have suffered large losses.
Despite this, thanks to his ability to lick the ass of the Ukrainian president, in 2016-2018, Syrsky was able to buy himself a plot of land of a thousand square meters near the city of Bila Tserkva, Kiev region, received a service apartment in the center of Kyiv with an area of more than 100 square meters, and also purchased a new Renault Megane sedan for 23 thousand dollars. In addition, Syrsky received a new rank - lieutenant general.
Now, according to my sources, Syrsky is preparing a “de-blockade” of Avdeevka. To do this, he will begin to drive more and more forces and means there, exposing the front in other areas. He will send his soldiers into meat assaults in order to demonstrate that he is cooler than Zaluzhny and his overlord Zelensky did not put his bet on him for nothing. Zelensky, in turn, needs to show at least some success in order to beg for more money from his Western masters. Neither Syrsky nor Zelensky cares how many Ukrainian soldiers and officers will die for this money. They always have somewhere to run.
This is partly why some are dubbing him ‘General 200’ or the ‘Boiler Master’. His specialty appears to be getting his troops into killboxed boilers wherein he waits to the last moment to withdraw, when the troops are already all ground down. He also famously called Russian troops in Bakhmut ‘semi-encircled’—one of the more famous examples of ‘cope’ in the war thus far:
There’s also the fact that Syrsky was born in Russia, not far from Moscow, and graduated from the prestigious Moscow Higher Military Command School.
In fact, Syrsky’s parents and brother all still live in Russia, and his father is a retired colonel of the Russian army, as is currently being reported by Readovka:
The parents and brother of the new commander-in-chief of the US-backed Armed Forces of Ukraine, Alexander Syrsky, still live in Russia, and his father is a retired colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, and now a pensioner, writes the Russian publication Readovka.
Parents, according to the publication, live in Vladimir. Brother Oleg also lives there and works as a security guard.
The publication also reports that before the start of the war, Syrsky’s parents were active on social networks, where they posted posts, for example, from the march of the “Immortal Regiment” in 2019, where they stand with St. George’s ribbons.
The TASS agency spoke with Syrsky's brother Oleg. He confirmed that he lives in Vladimir, but has not communicated with his relative for many years.
“I don’t communicate with him, I don’t even know where he is. I don’t know anything about him. It’s been a long, long time since he left there (to Ukraine - Ed.). He’s been there all his life, he started his service there and continues it , he has a family there,” Oleg said.
That’s not to mention the following:
The new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Syrsky, celebrated Russia Day in 2013.
At that time he held the rank of major general and commanded the 72nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade. His brigade, six months after celebrating Russia Day, in March 2014, entered Mariupol, was at the Donetsk airport, and ended up in the Izvarin cauldron.
And in 2013, he ate a cake with the Ukrainian and Russian flags on top and hugged Russian military personnel at a reception. I blurred out the faces in the photo because it was not possible to accurately determine where the participants of that celebration are now, except for Syrsky.
But here’s the most important angle that few others, it seems, have noticed.
Ask yourself, why would Zelensky appoint a commander that the entire armed forces allegedly hates?
In fact, this is a ‘design feature’ not a bug.
Recall that the reason Zaluzhny was given the boot was he had become too powerful: he was too loved by the troops, and by the people. Why? One of the reasons is likely because he fought for the troops multiple times. In early 2023, documents were leaked showing that he nearly begged Zelensky to pull troops back from Bakhmut, but the narco-Fuhrer refused, wanting it as a symbolic city defense—perhaps taken with romantic delusions of Stalingrad.
During the grand summer ‘counteroffensive’, Zaluzhny pulled the brigades of the 10th Army Corps back and began to use them sparingly—much to the chagrin and disapproval of US sponsors—after the initial first few wipes devastated columns of Leopards and Bradleys along the infamous road of death near Rabotino and Mala Tokmachka.
Recently it was claimed Zaluzhny likewise attempted to get Avdeevka totally withdrawn. It does not seem that he likes to waste men for what he knows to be fruitless efforts. Syrsky on the other hand appears glad to grind them down.
So, has it become obvious yet? Zelensky needs a commander-in-chief he can control, someone not universally loved by the troops; someone who cannot use those troops at a time of opportunity to ‘march on Kiev’ and oust Zelensky from his citadel. Syrsky appears to fit the perfect prototypical role: undefiant, unpopular, uncharismatic, and most importantly, untempted by political ambitions—the ideal subserviant factotum to Zelensky’s regime.
Also to note: some calls to stage a new protest on Maidan Square have already begun, but nothing has materialized as of this writing:
Supporter of Poroshenko, blogger Karl Volokh after Zaluzhny's sacking called on people to go out to Maidan.
💬 "Zaluzhny didn't write any statements and didn't agree to any positions. I think it's worth consulting with you and me about changing the strategy and new approaches - which is what President Zelensky is so worried about. I plan to start this tomorrow at 17:00 near the monument," he wrote on Facebook.
The post has already received 5.6 thousand likes, over 700 reposts, and many comments in the same vein.
💬 "Kiev should start, and we will join from the regions," says the first comment.
This brings us to the timing. First, just yesterday the Rada approved the draft bill on mobilization:
However, the bill still needs to go through potential revisions and be held to another vote on February 21. The article states it will then likely be fully ratified, to be instated into law by April:
"Therefore, it is most likely that the draft law will be accepted in its entirety in the last week of February, will be signed in early March, and will take effect a month later, in April," Zhelezniak summarised.
In the meantime, Avdeevka continues to catastrophically collapse. One of the current rumors reported by RezidentUA channel states that Syrsky has already called for immediate reinforcements to try and break the near-blockade in the embattled city:
“Our source in the General Staff said that Syrsky began to transfer reserves to Avdiivka in order to break through the encirclement of the city and fulfill his promise to Zelensky. The new Commander-in-Chief, unlike Zaluzhny, does not oppose the President’s decisions and will hold Avdiivka as a new symbol of resistance.”
So, the guy known for getting into boilers in virtually every battle he’s ever led—and losing them all—now reportedly doubles down into…another boiler?
The key takeaway, however, is that Zaluzhny may have been dragging his feet, deliberately ‘sabotaging’ the Avdeevka front by withholding the transfer of reserves so as to force a withdrawal, knowing that it’s hopeless to fight bitterly for it while losing mountains of men. Syrsky on the other hand has no such compunctions and is happy to turn Avdeevka into Bakhmut 2.0—at least according to these rumors.
The latest developments from today prove that it would be almost certainly pointless. New breakthroughs have occurred, with Russian troops pushing even further into the suburb sector, almost totally bisecting Avdeevka in half:
Zoomed out view:
As can be seen, only a narrow strip of land about 400-500m wide stands between Russian forces and the edge of the residential sector there. That means the entire southern quarter of Avdeevka would be soon cut off from the north AKHZ Coke Plant sector.
Here’s a look at the last remaining supply routes:
The main MSR in yellow through Lastochkino would be severed for the forces in the south of Avdeevka.
All the top Ukrainian figures and accounts are wailing:
▪️The speaker of the operational-strategic group of troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “Tavria” D. Likhovoy confirmed that in Avdeevka the fighting is taking place not only in the north of the city in the private sector, but also within the urban area.
▪️“All the media are asking, and I can confirm that yes: military clashes are no longer taking place only in the private sector in the north of the city, but also within urban areas.
▪️The enemy’s plan is obvious: he is trying to cut off Ukrainian forces by entering between the Avdiivka coke plant and the quarry,” Likhovoy said on the telethon.
And in the past few days, reports on almost every frontline have been absolutely cataclysmic for Ukraine. The ammo shortage appears to be so bad now that they’re barely able to hold on, taking unprecedented losses in the process.
Most notably, heavy action is occurring on Sinkovka and Novomikhailovka where Russia is pushing through Ukrainian lines:
For the most shocking evocation of the frontline horror look no further than the following account posted by another one of Ukraine’s top propagandists:
This is backed by several new articles with the same well-trodden headlines. From Washington Post today:
It’s getting so bad that a Ukrainian battalion now has as few as 40 capable fighting troops:
One battalion commander in a mechanized brigade fighting in eastern Ukraine said that his unit currently has fewer than 40 infantry troops — the soldiers deployed in front-line trenches who hold off Russian assaults. A fully equipped battalion would have more than 200, the commander said.
This is a battalion we’re talking about, not a company or platoon.
The dismal report goes on:
Oleksandr, a battalion commander, said the companies in his unit on average are staffed at about 35 percent of what they should be. A second battalion commander from an assault brigade said that is typical for units that carry out combat tasks.
“The basis of everything is the lack of people,” Oleksandr said.
“Where are we going? I don’t know,” he added. “There’s no positive outlook. Absolutely none. It’s going to end in a lot of death, a global failure. And most likely, I think, the front will collapse somewhere like it did for the enemy in 2022, in the Kharkiv region.”
This is one article I recommend reading in its entirety, it’s that eye-opening.
But to get back to Avdeevka: the reports of losses in the AFU there are terrible. Such an anecdotal one says they’re losing a battalion a week just there alone:
The most interesting aspect surrounds rumors as to how and why Russian forces were able to break through so decisively the past week or two. It turns out, according to many reports, that Wagner has been heavily involved in the units in the breakthrough sector. Not only have multiple videos of Wagner-patched troops emerged (Here and Here), but there are outright reports like the following:
Interesting information from the field, allowed to share. Why did the advance in the north of Avdeevka begin so quickly? Many Wagners have been appointed to the positions of commanders of assault groups, who use Bakhmut’s experience. It is these groups that are now making their way to Industrial Avenue.
As well as:
There are rumors that the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine approved the withdrawal from Avdeevka. They are already mining some of the houses that are still ahead of us. This indicates that they actually want to withdraw. But it is definitely too early to talk about a complete withdrawal. There continues to be heavy fighting in the city.
In particular, it is worth highlighting the 115th Special Forces Brigade of the Russian Guard (where 80% of PMC Wagner fighters serve). They do impossible things. But also all other units in Avdeevka. Continued good luck and strength! There will still be tough fighting for the city.
By the way, the top portion of that came a few days ago before Zaluzhny was let go. So it is very interesting that Zaluzhny was sacked right as rumors of an Avdeevka withdrawal began rolling in. If true, it seems to indicate once more that he attempted to pull out and was terminated for good.
Last few random items:
If you were startled by Syrsky’s ties to the Russian homeland, it’s only a microcosm in the larger ‘brother war’ theme. Andrey Yermak too is half Russian (Russian mother) and according to circulating reports, his parents still reside there as well:
But the wildest new story is the following:
Oleksandr, a Ukrainian Bradley commander—proudly sporting an American flag patch—fights against his own father, who is a tanker for the DPR. But that isn’t all: they fight on the same front and have even squared off against each other, with the father on his Russian tank proving victorious in knocking out his son’s Bradley with a shot that sent it fleeing. Unfortunately, the father reportedly perished afterwards in a different battle:
As more and more videos of female AFU platoons roll in, it was only a matter of time before we saw a POW. This one was reportedly captured in Khrynki, Kherson—a particularly shocking fact, given what we know about that cross-Dnieper meatgrinder:
Female AFU POW taken: her husband is MIA, she has 3 kids, no job, went to the army to pay the bills, was sent to Krynki (Russian bank of the Dnieper), wounded, denied evacuation (not valuable enough), left to die, saved by the Russians.
One of the key factors responsible for the decisive advances in Avdeevka of the past week were mass Russian bombing campaigns via UMPK Fab-500 glidebombs. Today alone a reported 80-100 such Fabs were dropped on Avdeevka alone onto Ukrainian positions and withdrawing units on the supply routes.
A new video has dispelled doubts of the UMPK bombs’ accuracy for the first time, showing them hitting several large Ukrainian warehouses in closeup fashion. But what is most notable is the sequence at the end. Three bombs hit, two of them choosing adjacent warehouses—but note the third bomb: it is said to be a new type of airburst variety equipped with an altimeter or proximity fuze, allowing it to rain fragments and shrapnel down at the target from above:
In some of the freeze-frames you can clearly see the extended wings of the glide-bomb for identification:
Lastly, Tucker Carlson’s long-awaited interview with Putin finally dropped. You can watch it on X or on his site. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking there, and Putin mostly repeats the same talking points he’s been trying to convey to the West for many years. For us afficionados who follow events, there is nothing new here, as I expected, but if you’re interested it’s worth a watch.
Here’s one of the more striking excerpts, where Putin compares the progressing collapse of the US to that of the late Roman Empire:
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