Ukraine’s new top general has a brother in Russia

Aleksandr Syrsky’s family still lives in his native Vladimir region

The parents and brother of Ukraine’s new commander-in-chief Aleksandr Syrsky are living in Russia, multiple Russian news outlets reported.

On Thursday, President Vladimir Zelensky announced that he had chosen Syrsky to replace his top general, Valery Zaluzhny. The reshuffle took place months after the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive and amid the deteriorating situation on the battlefield.

Colonel General Syrsky was born in Russia’s western Vladimir region when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union. His brother Oleg still resides in the provincial capital of Vladimir, news agency TASS said.

Oleg told reporters that he has not spoken to his close relative in years. “I don’t communicate with him. I don’t even know where he is,” Oleg told TASS. “I don’t know anything about him. It’s been a very long time since he moved [to Ukraine].”

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According to their social media accounts, Syrsky’s parents regularly attend the celebrations of Russia’s victory in World War II and have liked some pro-Moscow content online. The posts reportedly liked by Syrsky’s mother include a message wishing “good health” to President Vladimir Putin.

Aleksandr Syrsky graduated from a military academy in Moscow and was serving in Ukraine when it declared independence in 1991. He took an active part in the war in Donbass in the 2010s. According to Zelensky, he played a major role in the 2022 defense of Kiev against the Russian troops and the offensive in Kharkov later that year.

Syrsky has maintained a relatively low-key profile compared to his predecessor Zaluzhny, who often spoke to domestic and foreign press and has written several essays about the course of the conflict.

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