Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired his top military commander after months of disagreement over the country’s military strategy.
Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine‘s intelligence chief, has been brought in to replace the popular general.
Confirming the news on X, Zelensky said: “I met with General Valery Zaluzhny. I thanked him for the two years of defending Ukraine.
“I proposed to General Zaluzhnyi to remain part of the team. We will definitely win! Glory to Ukraine!”
But his public disagreements with the Ukrainian President over Kyiv’s underwhelming counteroffensive in 2023 and plans to mobilise another 500,000 Ukrainians have resulted in his dismissal.
In January, it was reported that Zelensky had decided to fire Zaluzhny, only to seemingly U-turn at the last.
After rumours circulated suggesting that Zaluznhy could be relieved of his duties, he penned an op-ed for CNN.
In what seemed to be a subtle dig at Zelensky, the general urged Kyiv’s leaders to “seize the moment” – referring to Zelensky’s refusal to mobilise 500,000 more troops.
Zaluzhny added: “We must acknowledge the significant advantage enjoyed by the enemy in mobilising human resources and how that compares with the inability of state institutions in Ukraine to improve the manpower levels of our armed forces without the use of unpopular measures.”
Last week, Zelensky confirmed that he would oversee a “reset” of Ukraine‘s military leadership, once again bringing his tense relationship with Zaluzhny into focus.
Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, criticised the plans. The former boxer has previously accused Zelensky of behaving like an “autocrat.”
Klitschko posted on his Telegram: “Today is a moment when politics might prevail over reason and [the] country’s interests.
“I hope the authorities understand the seriousness of the steps they are taking now and the fullness of their responsibility.