As General Oleksandr Syrsky assumes his new role as Ukraine’s top military commander in the aftermath of a significant shake-up of the army leadership, he is confronted with a challenging assessment: at what point does the cost of defending territory outweigh the benefits gained by causing harm to the enemy?
In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces are relentlessly demolishing the already battered city of Avdiivka and deploying successive waves of assault units to overpower the outgunned Ukrainian troops.
The Russian military’s prolonged and brutal campaign threatens to sever a crucial supply line to Avdiivka, raising the specter of rendering further defense of the city virtually impossible.
General Syrsky, previously the commander of ground forces in eastern Ukraine, is well-acquainted with this grim calculus, having grappled with it repeatedly throughout the two-year war.
The key question emerges: when does the expenditure of resources to defend a particular territory become disproportionate to the benefits gained from inflicting damage on the enemy?
Critics, including American military officials, argue that General Syrsky has not consistently navigated this complex equation effectively, particularly in the context of the battle for Bakhmut.
The assessment of his strategic decisions, among other factors, will be a crucial aspect of the broader “renewal” that President Volodymyr Zelensky deemed necessary when he ousted commanding general Valery Zaluzhny and appointed General Syrsky as his successor in the recent army leadership overhaul.
President Zelensky’s commitment to revitalizing the military leadership extends beyond the appointment of General Syrsky. He has also identified five generals and two colonels for promotion, signaling a comprehensive and sweeping restructuring of the military hierarchy.
The president’s vision for renewal encompasses strategic recalibration, with a focus on addressing the evolving challenges and dynamics of the ongoing conflict with Russian forces.
As General Syrsky assumes his new responsibilities, he faces the intricate task of balancing defensive strategies with the pragmatic evaluation of costs and benefits.
The relentless assault on Avdiivka underscores the urgency of this assessment, as the city’s critical supply line hangs in the balance. The president’s commitment to overhauling the military leadership reflects a broader imperative to adapt and optimize Ukraine’s defense apparatus in the face of relentless aggression.