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Ukraine's Zelenskiy Names New Commander In Donbas Conflict Zone

August 05, 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has appointed Lieutenant-General Volodymyr Kravchenko to lead the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in eastern Ukraine where Kyiv has been fighting Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

Kravchenko previously was commander of the "North" operational and tactical group composed of six regions and the city of Kyiv.

Issued on August 5, the presidential decree replaces General Oleksandr Syrsky who was made commander of the ground forces of the Armed Forces.

Sysrsky first headed Sector C when the armed conflict started in the easternmost regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in April 2014. Kyiv first called the deployment an Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) and changed it to the JFO in spring 2018.

He was one of the main commanders during the battle of Debaltseve in winter 2015 when Russian-backed separatists launched an offensive to take over the vital railroad hub city in Donetsk region. Ex-President Petro Poroshenko appointed Syrsky the head of the ATO in 2017 and JFO commander in May.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the Donbas conflict and 1.5 million more have been internally displaced.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian service

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-s- zelenskiy-names-new-commander-in-donbas -conflict-zone/30093927.html

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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