Ukraine war: Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, the man behind Kyiv's renewed offensive

Look up Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi online, and you will see him described as "the most successful general of the 21st Century so far".
Oleksandr Syrskyi - Zelensky
Oleksandr Syrskyi - Zelensky

It's a lot to live up to.

Gen Syrskyi led the defence of Kyiv at the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. He was the mastermind behind Ukraine's surprise and successful counter-attack in Kharkiv last summer. Now, he's overseeing its renewed offensive as the head of military operations in eastern Ukraine - one of Ukraine's two main axes.

We meet at a secret location beside the command vehicle he uses to visit his troops and keep an eye on the battle. On top is a powerful machine gun. Inside, a large screen displays multiple live video feeds of the battlefield from hundreds of drones.

We watch a feed of the heavily shell-scarred fields around Bakhmut, where some of his troops are trying to take back ground. I ask him if it's his goal to recapture the city? He smiles and says: "Yes, of course. I try to do it."

But even he admits that, more than a month since it started, Ukraine's long-awaited offensive on multiple fronts is going slower than many had hoped.

"We'd like to get very fast results," Gen Syrskyi says. "But in reality it's practically impossible."

He says even in the east, the area is saturated with mines and defensive barriers. The Russians, he says, have many strongholds: "Therefore, our advances are really not going as fast as we would like."

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