In a wide-ranging interview with the state news agency Ukrinform, published Friday, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Oleksandr Syrsky disclosed, among other things, that attacking Kharkiv would be fatal for the Russians, that there’s no need at the moment for Ukraine to mobilize 500,000 new soldiers to the front as had been stated last December, and that the AFU has recently regained more territory than it’s lost.

Here are five key takeaways from the interview:

Kharkiv would be a “fatal city” for the Russians

According to assessments from several Western media outlets, the threat of a Russian offensive is again looming over the eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest. Ukrinform asked Syrsky to assess how real the threat is.

The commander-in-chief said that the Ukrainian military takes every threat seriously and has been heavily fortifying the Kharkiv region.


“If the Russians go there again, Kharkiv will be a fatal city for them,” he said.

“We already have the experience of combat operations in the Kharkiv region, we managed to ‘figure out’ the enemy and liberate a large part of the Kharkiv region. It was then that the large-scale collapse of the Russian front took place.”

Syrsky said that Ukraine has been installing a “complex system of barriers” to stop a Russian advance to the city that had been Soviet Ukraine’s capital from 1919 to 1934.

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It’s unnecessary to mobilize another 500,000 people

“After reviewing our internal resources and clarifying the combat composition of the Armed Forces, this figure was significantly reduced,” Syrsky said.

He expects that there will be a sufficient number of people capable of defending Ukraine, not only through those conscripted but also through Ukraine’s substantial volunteer forces.

“We are currently reviewing the strength of certain non-combat units based on an audit of their activities. This allowed us to release thousands of servicemen and direct them to combat units,” Syrsky said.


But the primary focus is saving lives, he said, adding that those who are conscripted aren’t thrown right into combat, but receive proper training first.

“Iron can be restored, but you can't bring back the people who died.”

Syrsky also said that exhausted frontline troops, many of whom have been fighting since February 2022, when Russia began its full-scale invasion, have started being rotated.

“We need people to ensure this process. That is why I would like every man of conscription age in Ukraine to realize that Ukraine's survival depends on his will and actions,” Syrsky said.

The AFU's chief said he was confident that Russia will never be able to defeat Ukrainians on the battlefield as long as they maintain unity and strength of spirit.

“If you waste energy and strength on empty political disputes with each other, this is not even a path to defeat, but to death,” he said. “I want every Ukrainian to understand this: Russia denies all of us the right to life. That is why defeat and death are the same thing. Now it is time again for the country to turn into a strong, united fist.”


The number of positions reclaimed by the AFU surpasses those lost

Syrsky acknowledged the “very challenging” situation on the front line. However, he said that Ukrainian forces are not only on the defensive but are advancing in various directions daily.

“Recently, the number of positions we have regained exceeds those lost. The enemy has not managed to make significant progress in strategic directions, any territorial gains are of [merely] tactical importance,” he said.

According to Syrsky, Russia has significantly increased the activity of its aviation, including its use of guided air bombs to destroy Ukrainian positions, as well as heavy artillery and mortar fire.

“Until a few days ago, the enemy's advantage in terms of ammunition fired was about 6:1,” he said.

The AFU's chief said that Ukrainian troops have learned to fight not based on the quantity of ammunition but on the skill of using the weapons they have available.

However, as Syrsky admitted, the enemy continues offensive actions on a huge front, attempting at any cost to reach the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to push the Defense Forces of Ukraine to the left bank of the Dnipro River in the Zaporizhzhia region.

In certain areas of the front, Ukrainian troops have managed to equalize the situation regarding artillery, which has immediately impacted the overall situation, he said.


“Our gunners use high-precision ammunition to destroy enemy concentrations even dozens of kilometers from the front line,” he said.

Syrsky said that the Russians suffer significant losses in manpower and equipment daily, and they can never feel safe anywhere, including in occupied territories.

“There will be no peace for them on our land. Never. And every occupier must be aware of this,” he said.

Regarding Zaluzhny's resignation: there were valid reasons

According to Syrsky, President Volodymyr Zelensky had valid reasons for replacing Valery Zaluzhny, the former commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, at the beginning of February.

“The military has one duty – we do not discuss orders, we carry them out,” Syrsky said.

“So if the president of the country, the supreme commander, had reasons for such a replacement, especially during the active phase of the war, it means that these reasons are valid,” he added.

Syrsky said that he had worked with Zaluzhny since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion and even earlier.

“I can say that all our knowledge and experience, acquired during battles against overwhelming enemy forces, will be focused on increasing the effectiveness of our actions and inflicting maximum damage on the enemy's strike groups.”

Reasons for the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka


“We withdrew our forces from Avdiivka because the enemy had a significant advantage in the forces and means of the assault units,” Syrsky said.

Constant bombardment by guided aerial bombs compromised the integrity of Ukrainian defense, allowing Russian troops to gradually advance.

Syrsky also reported that insufficient artillery ammunition played a role, hindering effective counter-battery combat.

“To avoid encirclement and save lives, I decided to withdraw from Avdiivka. Unfortunately, during these battles, 25 Ukrainian servicemen were captured by the Russians. This is war,” he said.

Syrsky disclosed that Russian propagandists are attempting to use various videos with captured Ukrainian soldiers to paint the Ukrainian military in a bad light, apply psychological pressure, and spread panic.

However, Russia’s attack on Avdiivka resulted in significant losses for the Kremlin, “though it is unlikely that this will be reported on Russian TV.”

According to Syrsky, from Oct. 10, 2023, to Feb. 17, 2024, Russian troops suffered:

  • 47,186 personnel losses
  • 364 tanks destroyed
  • 748 armored combat vehicles destroyed
  • 248 artillery systems destroyed
  • 5 planes shot down

Additionally, Ukraine captured 95 Russian soldiers since the beginning of Avdiivka’s defense, he said.

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Comments (5)
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"If Russians Push to Kharkiv Again, It Will Be Fatal for Them"

well, let's hope that the Russians accept the kind invitation!
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@Hi MRGA troll jack under multiple guise

I see you are wearing many hats today.

You MRGA trolls seem a little stressed lately. Try not to lash out just because you are no longer getting invited to putin or putinrump requested bunga bunga parties. What with Belusconi and Jeffrey Epstein now having other commitments (with the devil I expect), putin having to carry around his colonoscopy bag, and putinrump on the road selling MRGA sanctioned 'lawsuit funding' bibles ....I suspect their underaged bunga parties are all on hold. It's not like they don't love and appreciate you though. 

The thing I always find most amusing about your posts is they alway use childish name calling, claim my Ukraine supporting post pointless (albeit packed with MRGA debunking facts) and say no one reads them.

However then you predictably read all my posts and fail to debunk any of the points made. Its like full circle of idiocy which blows your MRGA cover. 

 I'll bet you even read this post...and thats a good thing as I'm trying to use up MRGA toll time on pointless quests.

Whatever propaganda you were hired to spread, seems forgotten as you scramble to type your very emotional responses. I often wonder if that will catch up with you when your bosses see you have not stated your assigned falsehoods, or for that matter had any impact on any of the readers here.

Now how many nanoseconds did that response take to read troll 'jack'?
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@DBA, wow, calm down jamal :) it's weekend!
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Great interview. I think its the first I've read with Syrsky. Obviously a very intelligent and strategic thinker. What a morale advantage Ukraine has in its commanders that put their lives first when developing strategies....and as always the reminder for those less familiar with russia's history, that surrender to them means oppression, beatings and mostlikely for Ukraine defenders death. Putin citizens or soldiers lives first has not yet been invented in russia.

Orc loss number's below are stunning. Not that Putin cares of course as he is said to thrive on sowing death to his own people. What was it: 143 ISIS / KGB assisted concert deaths last week in Moscow? He must be very turned on by these numbers of destroyed russian assets:

*Russian Soldiers: 440790
*Tanks: 6922
* Artillery: 10991

* Armed-vehicles: 13264

* Aircrafts:347

* Helicopters: 325
* Ships: 26....

I wonder what the next iteration of the failed USSR experiment will be called...Maybe it will just be divided up by those nations the Russians previously stole from:
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all the losses data for Russians only, not talking about your own losses is a bit pointless piece of data

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@depau, Depau, John the loon from Canada is a bit pointless piece of opinion, and nothing more. No one reads his garbage. He's a legend in his own mind.

Putinbot destoryer
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@Duechbag aka Lance aka "Simple" Jack aka the dumbest mfer that ever poop words with an empty mind. Your mom wouldn't read your posts...
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@DEPAU DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH JOHN THE LOON FROM CANADA, I very much like John. He is Quite narrow minded person that obviously have no perspective in how things work in Russia and other post-soviet countries (like Ukraine). Kind of a person that can't/don't want to see that the US is working pretty much tha same way (but it is always Russia who's the devil and US are angels - just like in all the Hollywood movies). Funny guy, and keep us entertained here!

Putinbot Destroyer
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@depau, Russia is not the devil, just its mafioso scum leaders who kill their own people. Sounds like you eating dem potatos while your brothers die for Putin's power.

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@Putinbot Destroyer, easy man, people can have different opinions, views than you. Accept that or suffer :)

Putinbot Destroyer
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@Depau, yes you are allowed to be dumb and make us suffer your idiotic response. Agreed.

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@Depau, Hey DEPAU, fuck off back to russia !!
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