Friday 9 February 2024

Zelensky Fires Top Military Commander As He Looks To ‘Reset’ Struggling War Effort

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the country’s chief military commander on Thursday, just days after hinting at the shakeup as he looks to “reset” the Ukrainian military’s struggling war effort against Russia.

Zelensky first announced his decision to fire General Valerii Zaluzhnyi in a Telegram post, writing the two met and “discussed what kind of renewal the Armed Forces of Ukraine need,” CNN reported.

“The time for such a renewal is now,” Zelensky said.

In his own post on Telegram, Zaluzhnyi added, “The tasks of 2022 are different from those of 2024. Therefore, everyone must change and adapt to the new realities as well. [We] have just met with the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. It was an important and serious conversation. It was decided that we need to change our approaches and strategy.”

Zelensky hinted at the massive shakeup to his country’s military earlier this week, saying that “a reset” and “new beginning” were necessary to renew Ukraine’s war effort against a Russian army that recently launched another offensive. The Ukrainian military is struggling with a weakened force as the war nears the two-year mark later this month. Ukrainian forces are struggling to push back the renewed Russian push as it faces dwindling numbers of ammunition and troops, The New York Times reported.

General Zaluzhnyi, a popular figure in the country, said in a November interview with The Economist that the war had reached a “stalemate,” warning “there will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough.” Zaluzhnyi’s comments angered Zelensky’s office, which said that such criticism only helped Russia. The general also slammed Zelensky for his hesitancy to up the number of draftees to 500,000, which Zaluzhnyi said was necessary “to improve the manpower levels of our armed forces,” CNN reported.

The military shakeup is yet another setback for Ukraine’s military leadership. Last August, Zelensky fired every single head of the country’s regional military enlistment offices over allegations of abuse of power, fraud, and corruption. Earlier in 2023, another one of Ukraine’s top generals was dismissed, and numerous officials were fired or resigned after they were hit with allegations of corruption.


Zaluzhnyi’s firing comes as Zelensky hopes for another aid package from the U.S. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill seek to hash out a deal to send support to Ukraine and Israel. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to pass a bipartisan bill attaching aid to Ukraine and Israel alongside funding to address the border crisis, but Republican leaders in the House shot down the proposal, saying that it “fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration.”

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