General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the highest-ranking commander in Ukraine, was dismissed by President Volodymyr Zelensky in the most significant military reorganization since Russia’s full-scale invasion began nearly two years ago.
Following the disastrous failure of Ukraine’s highly anticipated counteroffensive, which resulted in tensions between Zelensky and his immensely popular military commander, the president took this action.
Ukraine is currently confronted with a renewed assault from Russia, shortages of manpower and ammunition, and a stalemate in Congress regarding US aid.
Zaluzhnyi will be succeeded by Oleksandr Syrskyi, who has held the position of Commander of Ukrainian Land Forces since 2019.
Two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN that rumors of Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal began to circulate in Kyiv last week after he was summoned to a meeting at the president’s office and informed of his termination.
Despite initial denials by Zelensky’s office, the move was officially verified on Thursday.
The president offered Zaluzhnyi, who Zelensky had appointed army chief in July 2021, a new position; however, he declined, according to one of the sources.
Uncertainty surrounds Zaluzhnyi’s potential decision to maintain some level of military involvement.
The rift between the two individuals had been building for several months prior to November of last year, when Zaluzhnyi declared in a lengthy essay and interview for The Economist that the conflict had come to a stalemate.
This appeared to precipitate a further escalation of their differences.
More recently, the two leaders disagreed as to whether or not mass mobilization was necessary in Ukraine.
Zelensky opposed the army chief’s recommendation that as many as 500,000 privates be drafted in.
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