Foreign Legion: 2023 Change of Command

In late July 2023, General Alain Lardet left after three years the Foreign Legion Command (COMLE) to be replaced by General Cyrille Youchtchenko, the new commander-in-chief of the Legion.

The change of command ceremony took place on July 20, 2023, within the Legion’s HQ in Aubagne.

Born in 1967, Cyrille Youchtchenko entered, in 1989, the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy. In 1992, now second lieutenant, he graduated and was assigned as a platoon leader to the 92nd Infantry Regiment. With this unit, he deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars. In 1995, Lieutenant Youchtchenko chose the Foreign Legion and was assigned as a platoon leader to the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade in Djibouti, Horn of Africa. Promoted to captain, he joined the 4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE) in Castelnaudary in 1997. He would, among other things, command the 3rd Enlisted Volunteer Company (1998-2000). In 2001, Captain Youchtchenko was assigned to the General Staff of the French Army to train NCOs. Promoted to major in 2002, he continued his military studies from 2004 to 2005.

Between 2005 and 2007, he was in charge of training infantry platoon leaders at the EAI military academy in Montpellier, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2006. In 2007, Lt. Col. Youchtchenko returned to the Legion to command the Operations & Instruction Bureau of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI). With this unit, he participated in operations in the Central African Republic (2007-2008) and in Afghanistan (2009-2010).

In late July 2010, a newly promoted Colonel Youchtchenko took over the 13e DBLE, as the last commanding officer to serve with the unit on the African soil. Because of the transfer of the demi-brigade to the United Arab Emirates, he had to leave command in late July 2011 and join the CDEF (Center for Doctrine and Use of Forces) at the École militaire, an old and vast military academy in Paris.

Back in the Legion in 2012, he served as the Chief of Staff of the Foreign Legion Command in Aubagne until 2014. Thereafter, from 2014 to 2017, he assisted the Inspector General of the Army. In the meantime, Colonel Youchtchenko also attended a senior course at the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy. From 2017 to 2019, he served at the DRHAT (Army Human Resources Directorate).

In 2019, he was assigned to the Defense and Security Zone South in Marseille, to supervise the defense zone headquarters. Promoted to general in 2021, he became a deputy to the general officer of the Zone.

Married and father of four, General Youchtchenko returned to the Foreign Legion in 2023, to become its new commander-in-chief.

Foreign Legion - Cyrille Youchtchenko