The newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky, asserted in an interview with the German TV channel ZDF that Ukraine has transitioned into a defensive operation, marking a new phase in the war characterized by the growing use of drones.

This interview was recorded a few days before Syrsky was appointed to his new position.

Russia is advancing along the entire front line, Ukraine has gone on the defensive

“The situation at the moment can be assessed as difficult. The enemy is now actually advancing on the entire front line. We have moved from offensive actions to conducting a defensive operation,” Syrsky stated.

He clarified that the objective of the defensive operation is to weaken Russian forces and inflict maximum losses upon them. He remarked that daily offensives by Russian forces persist, with particularly intense battles occurring in the Kupyansk direction, where Russia aims to seize control at any cost.


“Every day, from morning until late at night, [the enemy] storms our positions,” Syrsky said.

He further disclosed that Russian troops had initiated its global offensive on Oct. 3.

“We cannot allow our territory to remain under the occupier's control”

In response to questions about Ukraine's resilience and ability to sustain the war, Syrsky Syrsky told ZDF:

“When this open aggression began, I felt like I was entering an abyss with an indefinite timeframe... it was clear to me that it would be long and difficult.”

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He stressed the necessity for Ukraine to end the war by reclaiming its pre-2014 borders, asserting: “Other options are not on the table because we simply have no other way out.”

Syrsky called on Ukrainian society to rally around the common cause of victory.

“Everyone must strain. If there is no help from outside, we must establish production in Ukraine,” he said.

He noted that this process had already been launched, and it is necessary to adjust domestic production capability.


“We must first rely on our strength, not only on partners,” he said.

Soldiers’ lives are his primary concern

Syrsky is adamant that Ukraine's primary value is protecting the lives of its defenders:

“The main role belongs to our soldiers, officers, who directly perform tasks on the battlefield. They will win this victory; what happens today and tomorrow depends on them.”

He said that it was better to accept a need to retreat from some position rather than to risk sacrificing personnel needlessly.

“We cannot afford the same attitude, as the Russian commanders do, where they rely on ‘meat assaults’ to achieve progress,” Syrsky emphasized.

According to his data, the losses of the Russians in the war, especially of those killed, are 7-8 times higher than those suffered by Ukrainian forces.

The war is entering a new stage

“We are now observing how the role of drones... is increasing every day because the numbers used by both sides is increasing,” he said.

He said the movement of drones throughout the battlefield is constant. Syrsky noted that this war significantly increased the importance given to technological progress in the UAF and its war-fighting plans.


“We are already seeing the use of ground robotic platforms, modules that are controlled remotely, which again provides an opportunity to save the lives of our servicemen,” Syrsky said.

“The war is entering a new stage,” he added.

Weapons from the West are not enough

The interviewer asked Syrsky about western military aid: “You received weapons from the West to help you but, maybe, you didn't get what you needed? How do you see it?”

In response, Syrsky emphasized that such a war had not happened since the Second World War because, for two years, there had been fierce combat operations with “a scope from south to north.”

“When there is a war of such dimensions, these weapons are not enough. And the weapons used have a physical expiration date,” he said.

According to Syrsky, this war is not only about people but also about the economy.

“And here, the economy of the collective West should help us because we are using the most valuable thing we have - our people, the cream of our nation,” he added.

At the end of the interview, answering the journalist's question about the possible condition for ending the war, Syrsky noted that “everything depends on the level of support and the effectiveness of our actions.”


“We have enough resilience and courage. We lack support, ammunition, and equipment,” he said.

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