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Changes in Ukraine's military top brass: who was fired and why, and what we can expect from their successors

Wednesday, 26 June 2024, 19:43

"I have taken the decision to replace Lieutenant General Yurii Sodol, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with Brigadier General Andrii Hnatov", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on 24 June.

At the time of his dismissal, Lieutenant General Sodol, 53, had only held the post for four months. President Zelenskyy did not give reasons for the change. 

The day before Sodol’s dismissal, however, Bohdan Krotevych, Chief of Staff of the Azov Brigade of the National Guard, filed a request with Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) calling for an investigation into Sodol in light of the large personnel losses that, Krotevych said, occurred as a result of following Sodol’s orders. 


On 26 June, during a working trip to Donetsk Oblast, Zelenskyy introduced the newly appointed Hnatov, urging military commanders on the ground to "do everything to preserve as much of the personnel as possible."

Ukrainska Pravda sought comments from Krotevych while working on this article, but he refused to offer any comments ahead of the SBI’s decision.

Krotevych’s appeal to the SBI was preceded by much online speculation around Sodol’s decisions. He was widely referred to online as "butcher" and was accused of being responsible for a series of Ukraine’s military setbacks.

Meanwhile, both military and activist voices are publicly declaring that current military commanders – the old guard – are no longer up to their jobs and should be replaced by younger officers. In fact, it was Krotevych – one of the young officers – and his appeal that has ultimately seen Sodol, one of the old guard, dismissed.

Overall, it’s not a bad idea to give power over to younger military commanders, who can better implement more up-to-date warfare tactics. But how this is done in practice, and whether it might undermine trust in the military, are also crucial issues.

In this article, Ukrainska Pravda investigates the accusations and complaints levelled at the former Commander of the Joint Forces Lieutenant General Yurii Sodol, why his dismissal seems to be the outcome of an elaborate information campaign, and whether it is a harbinger of a wider process in which the old guard will be replaced by younger commanders.

Ukrainska Pravda has access to the complaint Bohdan Krotevych, Chief of Staff of the Azov Brigade, has filed with the SBI. Here are some of its key claims and arguments:

  • Lieutenant General Sodol has not spent a single hour in Mariupol and has issued orders that were at odds with where the Azov Brigade (known then as the Azov Regiment) and the 36th Marines Brigade were deployed. For example, Sodol ordered the 36th Brigade to enter the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, while ordering the 12th Brigade to enter the Ilich Iron and Steel Works, even though at the time the Azov Regiment was closer to the Azovstal plant and the 36th Brigade was closer to the Illich plant.
  • The Azov Regiment did not receive "any additional ammunition ahead of the defence of Mariupol", and the city was left without defence fortifications because of Sodol’s miscommunication with the local authorities.
  • During the Russian encirclement of Mariupol, there was no communication between the Mariupol garrison and other military units, which meant a number of units could have been caught in friendly fire.
  • Sodol is an "inadequate" commander and his decisions have led to the deaths of "thousands" of soldiers from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, and other units of Ukraine’s defence forces.
  • During his time as the commander of the Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group of Forces, Sodol was responsible for ensuring appropriate defences were in place ahead of the second Russian offensive on Kharkiv..
  • Following his appointment as the Khortytsia commander, Sodol was issuing "unclear" orders to the 12th Brigade of Ukraine’s National Guard regarding taking up positions in low-lying areas, as well as ordering the brigade to make insignificant advances of a couple metres at a time both quickly and without sufficient ammunition. 

From growing discontent on social media to Zelenskyy’s order to dismiss Sodol

What’s interesting about Sodol’s dismissal is not just why he was dismissed, but also how his dismissal unfolded over time.

Mariana Bezuhla is a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the governing party Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) famous for her attacks in Facebook posts on military commanders she deems ineffectual. Her position often dovetails with that of the Office of the President of Ukraine, and she was one of the voices calling for Sodol’s dismissal. Her calls were joined by a number of high-profile figures,  including bloggers and volunteers Serhii Sternenko, Ihor Lachenkov (Lachen), and Ramina Askhakzai, as well as Vladyslava Liberova and Kostiantyn Liberov, a husband-and-wife photographer duo who had not previously criticised Ukraine’s military leaders, nor even paid such close attention to them. 

Meanwhile, a high-ranking military official told Ukrainska Pravda that both Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the General Staff as a whole, largely supported Sodol’s appointment to the position of the Commander of the Joint Forces. Another source, from Ukraine’s Marines, told Ukrainska Pravda that although some of his views were aligned with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Zelenskyy’s main opponent in the last presidential elections), Sodol was even favoured by Zelenskyy.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi (right) and former Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yurii Sodol (left).
Photo from open sources

Another source in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Sodol tried to meet every goal set by his commanders "in order to secure their support and prove that he was worth it".

Public outrage around Sodol sparked around 19-20 May, with Bezuhla’s and Sternenko’s social media posts. Bezuhla called Sodol a "criminal" who appointed his henchmen to positions of power (including Brigadier General Yurii Halushkin, who failed to prevent a Russian breakthrough in Kharkiv Oblast) and a "backroom butcher" who would do anything his superiors told him. This comes only a few months after Bezuhla described Sodol as an "innovative, capable combat manager"  in the wake of the news of Valerii Zaluzhnyii’s resignation from the position of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Sternenko said Sodol’s appointment as the commander of the Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group of Forces was a "personnel disaster" because he "doesn’t care about soldiers’ lives".

Meanwhile, Sternenko said Sodol’s appointment as the commander of the Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group of Forces was a "personnel disaster" because he "doesn’t care about soldiers’ lives".

Sodol had headed Khortytsia for several months before Sternenko’s post, following the dismissal of General Staff commanders in February, and at the same time as he was appointed  Commander of the Joint Forces.


Still, the outrage regarding Sodol’s appointment as Khortytsia commander snowballed in May, gathering thousands of posts shared on X, Facebook, and Instagram.

Outrage directed at Sodol is part of the broader dynamic in which old generals are seen as incapable and inadequate in the present context, and amid the call for them to be replaced by a younger generation of officers. Bezuhla was among the first people to publicly make this argument following the Russian breakthrough in Kharkiv Oblast.

On 22 May, Bezuhla accused the military top brass – including Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, Head of the General Staff Anatolii Barhylevych, Commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces Oleksandr Pavliuk, and Commander of the Joint Forces Yurii Sodol – of hiding the truth, replacing unit commanders too quickly, failing to adequately train military personnel, and excessive red tape. According to Bezuhla, Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal brought no real change, and the old guard had to leave to make way for the new generation of military commanders.

Several days later, Krotevych, who filed the request concerning Sodol with the SBI, shared photos of a handful of well-known and respected servicemen on X with the caption: "I’m assembling a dream team of commanders who are immensely respected by their personnel." Neither Syrskyi nor Sodol were included.

An Ukrainska Pravda source in the Ukrainian parliament suggests that the goal of this social media campaign may be to create – and eventually fulfil – public demand for an extensive reshuffle.

"I think that the Office of the President is considering replacing the military command, and therefore they instructed people to discredit Sodol, so that there’s a justification", the source says. "[The Office of the President] chose someone who really deserves criticism, which many of the people in the military know about. The Office of the President wants to use his dismissal to show they’re promptly responding to the calls from within the military and from civilians. They will then remove the rest of Syrskyi’s team."

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi’s team.
Photo: Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Telegram

Sodol is the first member of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi’s team dismissed by President Zelenskyy. His dismissal was greeted with dozens of overjoyed and congratulatory posts – including many praising Krotevych – by all those aggrieved by Sodol and his actions as Commander of the Joint Forces.

However, neither the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, nor Syrskyi himself, have commented on Sodol’s dismissal.

Ukrainska Pravda’s sources in the military leadership say that the General Staff was surprised by Sodol’s dismissal.

"Behind the scenes, the Commander-in-Chief made efforts to protect [Sodol] but decided against getting involved in a public argument once it had crossed over into the ‘old guard versus the new’ territory. It is normal for young commanders to have ambitions. Syrskyi probably didn’t want the conflict to be read as a generational one, because it would have negative repercussions for the situation on the front", a source in the General Staff told Ukrainska Pravda.

Sodol will officially remain the Commander of the Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group of Forces, but he will eventually be replaced by the new Commander of the Joint Forces, Andrii Hnatov, in this position as well.


Who is Sodol, and what is his history in Ukraine's Armed Forces?

Yurii Sodol enlisted in Ukraine's Armed Forces in the late 1990s. He joined the mighty 25th Brigade of the Air Assault Forces in 2003 and became its commanding officer in 2007.

Yurii Sodol, former Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Source: Photo by Artem Halkin for Ukrainer, a Ukrainian educational studies project

Under his command, the 25th Brigade fought in the hottest spots of the ATO in 2014 – Rubizhne and Yampil – and also took part in the defence of Donetsk airport and the battles in Debaltseve. [The ATO or Anti-Terrorist Operation is a term used from 2014 to 2018 by the media, Ukraine’s government and the OSCE to identify combat actions in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts against Russian military forces and pro-Russian separatists.] 

"I met Sodol in 2003. I joined the 25th Brigade as a junior lieutenant, and he was a major, commanding a brigade artillery group. He struck me as a very competent commander, and I respect him primarily for his professional qualities", one of the current commanders of the Ukrainian Marines told Ukrainska Pravda.

Sodol was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 2018 and appointed commander of the Ukrainian Marine Corps the same year.

"Yurii Ivanovych [Sodol] is a clever fellow. When we served together in the Marines, I saw him as a decent general who understands how to work with people. He is very sociable. I totally agreed with his views on the development of the Marine Corps and was ready to follow him to the end", recalls one of Sodol's brothers-in-arms, speaking to UP on condition of anonymity.

In conversations with UP, the lieutenant general's old acquaintances describe him as a total ascetic who never sought any special treatment for himself, his sons, or even his mother, who, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, was leaving the occupation like everyone else.

Back in 2019, as one of the former marines continues to recount, then-President Petro Poroshenko visited Mykolaiv and wondered why the commander of the Marine Corps still had no flat. He said Sodol should have been given a place to live immediately. Sodol refused the idea because, the source adds, he understood that this would mean the local authorities would have to move someone down the housing waiting list.

A few years before the Russians launched its full-scale war, the Marines became an elite branch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Marines typically went on rotation to the Mariupol area. Some of them, including the 36th Brigade, saw the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion there.

The 36th Marine Brigade heroically defended Mariupol at the Illich Iron and Steel Works after the onset of the full-scale war. Later, in the summer of 2022, the 35th Brigade crossed the Inhulets River to the side previously controlled by Russia. A year later, in the summer of 2023, it advanced close to the settlement of Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast.

In the autumn of 2023, the Ukrainian Marine Corps emerged as the core of a daring operation to land Ukrainian forces on the Dnipro River's left (east) bank, particularly in the village of Krynky. The soldiers of the 35th Brigade are still fighting there. 

However, the Ukrainian military and experts consider the Kherson operation to be one of the most unsuccessful in Sodol's military career.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed Sodol as commander of the Joint Forces of the AFU on 11 February 2024. At the same time, the former Marine Corps chief was appointed commander of the Khortytsia Operational Strategic Group (OSG), which covers a vast strip of the war zone from Kharkiv Oblast to Vuhledar (Donetsk Oblast).

This is the most congested area in terms of the number of Russian offensives, with fighting in Terny–Yampolivka, Bilohorivka, Chasiv Yar, and a large bulge beyond Ocheretyne on the Pokrovsk front.

Since Sodol took over as commander of the Khortytsia OSG, his area of responsibility has been the scene of several offensives, which have been critical for Ukraine's defence forces but successful for the Russians: 

- The breakthrough near the village of Ocheretyne on 11-12 April and the subsequent advance of the Russians in almost all parts of the area. This is still the most critical area of the war zone.

- Intensification of the Russian offensive on the former Marinka front, with the Russians entering Krasnohorivka and capturing Novomykhailivka.

- Russian forces breaching Ukraine's state border on 10 May in two locations –  Lyptsi and Vovchansk – in Kharkiv Oblast.

- The beginning of the Russian offensive towards the city of Toretsk, attacking the settlements of Pivnichne and Shumy in late June.

At the same time, the Russians extended their pressure on Chasiv Yar and even entered the city's residential area (Kanal district) from the side of the war-torn city of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces made some gains in the Serebrianka Forest, largely due to the efforts of the Azov, Burevii, and Khartiia brigades of the National Guard.

At present, Ukrainska Pravda does not have sufficient data to determine Sodol's role or culpability in making the Russian breakthroughs possible. In addition, the events described above took place during an ammunition shortage when Western partners delayed the process of providing Ukraine with weapons.

Among the criticisms levelled at Sodol is that since taking over as commander, he has been gradually dismissing brigade commanders who are respected by their teams: commanders of the 47th, 79th, and 65th brigades have been removed from their positions over the past few months. 

However, the sources of Ukrainska Pravda in all three brigades cannot be certain that these personnel decisions were motivated by Sodol's desire to replace them with individuals close to him or for similar reasons. In two instances, the formal reasons for replacing the brigade commanders were likely the loss of settlements or their transition into the grey zone [not held by either side]: Novomykhailivka for the 79th Brigade and Robotyne for the 65th Brigade. 

Very harsh, often obscene, assessments of the commander can be heard among the military fighting in Sodol's area of responsibility, both from soldiers and officers. They mostly come down to the accusation that the former commander does not seem to value the lives of the military and drives soldiers to their slaughter. 

"Sodol disregards human losses. There is no planning in his subordinate headquarters and commands, and no overall vision to his warcraft. He looks at the data on the combat and the numerical strength of the military unit, as well as some points on the map, and tries to correlate them. As soon as he sees that people are still alive, he immediately sends them somewhere [else to fight]", one of the commanders whose brigade fought under Sodol's command in Donetsk and Kharkiv oblasts told Ukrainska Pravda off the record.


"I do not know a single officer or sergeant who has served in the Marines for more than 5-7 years who would say a good word about Sodol", said a source in the Ukrainian Marine Corps' leadership in a conversation with UP.

However, high-ranking military officers who have worked with Sodol assure UP that these words can, unfortunately, be used to describe any Ukrainian general in the circumstances of the current war.

"The essence of the problem is much deeper than it seems now. If Sodol is removed, there will be some Ivanov or Petrov, who will also not spare soldiers. Everyone is Marshal Zhukov now. War has no human face", says one of the officers. [Marshal Georgy Zhukov, a Soviet military commander in World War II, is synonymous with a ruthless approach prioritising military objectives over human casualties.]

Sodol's new position has negatively impacted his behaviour, according to a source close to the former Joint Forces commander.

"He is a hostage of the military and political situation and has to prove that he is worthy of his appointment. He seems to have put a crown on his head and is just going ahead. He doesn't give a sh*t about people. Only the task matters. And it shouldn't be like that. This is the main criticism of him. He has lost communication with his commanders, so logically, they do not accept him. The criticism of his actions is entirely justified", a representative of the Ukrainian military leadership told UP off the record. 

"There were successful operations in 2023, several settlements were liberated, and then there was the operation on the left bank. As one officer said: ‘The old man [Sodol] has completely lost his mind.’ Of course, this is a subjective assessment, but I think many people share it", adds one of the officers of a battalion of the Ukrainian Marines.

Volnovakha–Mariupol, Vuhledar, Velyka Novosilka, Krynky

Like any high-ranking military officer, Sodol has experienced his share of conventional successes and failures.

Ukrainska Pravda’s sources among Marine Corps officers noted Sodol’s successes in the battles of Volnovakha in February 2022, which led to the title Hero of Ukraine being bestowed on him. One high-ranking Marine officer says that Sodol managed to bring back the ATO brigades, which had begun to retreat under Russian pressure, to the defensive line.

Another notable example is the defence of Vuhledar in the autumn of 2022 and winter of 2023, which a former marine, openly supportive of Sodol, cites as a positive achievement. During this period, Ukraine's defence forces, particularly through the huge efforts of the 72nd Brigade, successfully maintained control of the town. Sodol was commanding the Donetsk Operational Tactical Group at that time.

"If [the Russians] had taken Vuhledar, they would have already been in Kurakhove, and everything would have fallen apart. Sodol dragged them into the city and crushed the 155th Brigade of [Russia’s] Pacific Fleet, their marines. There was no applause at the time, but there certainly should have been", a source told Ukrainska Pravda. 

In a conversation with UP, one of the Marine Corps commanders cited the Ukrainian offensive near Velyka Novosilka in June 2023 (on the border of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts) as a third example of a successful operation led by Sodol.

At that time, the 68th Jaeger Brigade, together with the 35th Marine Brigade, broke through to the Russian-controlled part of the village of Vremivka, liberating Neskuchne, Storozhove, Blahodatne, Makarivka and Urozhaine. Ukrainian troops penetrated almost 10 kilometres into Russian defences in two and a half months.


It was the best result on the Zaporizhzhia front that summer.

"All the resources were allocated to the counteroffensive [near Robotyne] in 2023 – we were nearly firing missiles on the trenches there. Two [Ukrainian] corps and the Marun group were destroyed there. Why doesn't anyone ask Tarnvskyi [General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, former Commander of the Tavriia Operational Strategic Group] how this happened? At that time, Sodol, thanks primarily to the efforts of the 35th Marine Brigade, liberated three times as much territory. He conducted a successful offensive", says the source.

In contrast to these three examples, two other operations under Sodol’s command have already been documented as among the most tragic in the history of the Russian-Ukrainian war: the defence of Mariupol and the landing of marines on the left, occupied bank of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast, specifically in the village of Krynky.

Over the last year, the word "Krynky" has become a source of great fear among the Marine Corps. One of Ukrainska Pravda’s sources referred to this settlement on the other side of the Dnipro River as "the cemetery of the Marine Corps".

Marine officers at all levels with whom UP maintains contact expressed concern over the operation’s complete lack of preparedness. This concerns everything from lack of air defence, to a severe shortage of boats to cross the Dnipro River, an inability to provide operational supplies including food, water, and ammunition, and evacuation of the wounded and dead.

One of the sources in the Marine Corps command emphasises that Sodol was informed of all the challenges involved and the probable implications of the marines’ landing.

"To kick off the operation, we borrowed boats from territorial defence. Logistics crossing the Dnipro proved incredibly difficult to implement. For me, the problem with planning was a misperception of the number and effectiveness of the enemy on this front. Furthermore, the area of the planned assault was too broad.

"War is full of uncertainties. For some reason, planning is done based on the most optimistic development of events, even when they actually develop in the worst way. And it appears that no one has considered this possibility at all, even though they should have done so", one of the officers of the Marine Corps battalion shares with Ukrainska Pravda.

"This is still an issue: our country sends sailors, soldiers, sergeants, and some officers to do training, but not generals, it appears. As a result, we continue to conduct the war in the majority of circumstances in the same way the Soviet army did", he continues.

One of the former marines, an acquaintance of Sodol’s, confirms that he visited Krynky at least once in 2023 to see the situation firsthand.

The source among the marine commanders who participated in the landing on the left bank of the Dnipro claimed that he would not have carried out the operation on principle. Even if the defence forces could construct a stable bridgehead in Krynky, it would have to be "filled with people". And they just did not have enough people at their disposal.

"Sodol failed at Krynky and moved on to oversee the Kharkiv operation. The most pressing question for the military personnel under his command is whether he will be held accountable for his actions. Will he be removed and then reappointed somewhere else?" one of the UP sources in the Marine Corps command ponders. 

At the same time, Ukrainska Pravda's source in the General Staff believes that in an extreme situation like the one in Krynky, Sodol cannot be made the scapegoat.

"He bears probably 30 percent of the blame for the incident in Krynky. This is a difficult subject. Numerous factors influenced it. For example, Neizhpapa [Commander of the Ukrainian Navy] promised him many thousand boats but delivered just one and a half hundred.

"There were logistical and organisational challenges that he, as a subordinate, could not handle alone. This was considered at the highest levels, including the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters. He did not devise the plan for this operation", the source within the military leadership explains to Ukrainska Pravda. 

"Sodol did not order this operation – it was at the suggestion of the political leadership", adds one of the marine commanders.


The former Joint Forces Commander Sodol was also notorious for his questionable remarks and deeds. In a speech in parliament prior to the vote on the mobilisation bill, he said the Russian army in the area of his Khortytsia Operational Strategic Group outnumbered the Ukrainian Armed Forces by 7-10 times. He stated that some military units had two soldiers, while others had three or four, despite the fact that the rules called for eight to ten.

"Now, as I was on my way here, the enemy attacked one of the 25th Brigade's positions. No one fled, yet everyone was killed. As I already mentioned, three soldiers defended the position. No one abandoned their duty. They fought until the end", said Sodol.

Commentators on social media questioned Sodol's remark. They claimed that it was detrimental to Ukraine’s mobilisation efforts.

Furthermore, Sodol became entangled in a political controversy just before his removal. Hennadii Trukhanov, the former mayor of Odesa, received the "For Labour and Valour" award from Sodol on 22 June. The Ukrainian Joint Forces Commander’s gesture elicited unfavourable reactions from the military and activist communities.

What is known about the new Commander of the Joint Forces?

On 24 June, President Zelenskyy appointed Brigadier General Andrii Hnatov as Commander of Ukraine's Joint Forces, replacing Yurii Sodol. 

Since February 2024, the president has reflected on granting him a position within the military leadership. On 8 February, when Oleksandr Syrskyi was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, Zelenskyy mentioned Hnatov as one of the contenders for defence forces leadership roles.

Andrii Hnatov, the new Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Source: Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence

Hnatov graduated from the Kharkiv Institute of Tank Forces. He began his military service in 2001. In 2014, during the Russian takeover of Crimea, where he was stationed, he refused to violate his military pledge to his country, and rather than collaborating with the Russians, he fled to Ukraine.

He served as Chief of Staff of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade from 2016 to 2018, and was later appointed commander. He led the brigade until 2021.

In a conversation with Ukrainska Pravda, one of the Marine Corps commanders, who served under Hnatov for six years, describes the general as "very responsible and human-centred" and emphasises that he guides many experienced commanders and subordinates.

"When I was in the brigade's only infantry unit, my brothers-in-arms and I were on the front lines, in trenches, but Andrii Viktorovych [Hnatov] still visited our positions almost daily. He knew all of the soldiers’ names. He assisted in resolving a variety of financial and domestic issues. A man of distinctive qualities. He also always accepted responsibility for everything and did not leave the warriors to their fate", the marine recalls.

In 2022, Hnatov was appointed head of staff and deputy commander of the forces within the Pivden (South) Operational Command.

In the same year, he led the defence of Mykolaiv, succeeding General Dmytro Marchenko.

Roman Kostenko, Colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine and Secretary of the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] Committee on National Security, Defence, and Intelligence, met with Andrii Hnatov during the defence of Mykolaiv. 

In an interview with Ukrainska Pravda, Kostenko describes the newly appointed Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as a sensible and modern general who has advanced through all levels of military command, from brigade chief of staff to regional defence leadership.

"Hnatov has extensive military experience. He makes a positive impression both as a commander and as a person. Strict and demanding, but at the same time prudent and decent", Kostenko remarks. 

In November 2022, Hnatov was one of the leaders of the successful operation to liberate Kherson Oblast

In the spring of 2023, he led the defence of Bakhmut. Before being appointed Commander of the Joint Forces, he headed the Skhid (East) Operational Command.


The "anti-Sodol" campaign, which developed through messages on social media, is not unique. At one time, similar methods were used to campaign for the dismissal of the former Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and his team. Then, the well-known Ukrainian MP Mariana Bezuhla posted negative comments about the general on Facebook.

Much more intriguing in this story is the process of old generals being replaced. 

The dismissal of Sodol and everything that came before it demonstrated the flaws within the Ukrainian army and the necessity to adapt approaches to high-tech warfare. And, following the public demolishment of Sodol’s reputation, it will be impossible to ignore further criticism of the military command.

According to Ukrainska Pravda sources, in recent months information about a probable change in the military leadership has been heard at the presidential offices on Bankova Street on a regular basis.

Anhelina Strashkulych, Olha Kyrylenko. Ukrainska Pravda

Translation: Olya Loza, Artem Yakymyshyn and Theodore Holmes

Editing: Shoël Stadlen