Will Zelenskiy dismiss General Zaluzhniy?

Rumors about the dismissal of Valery Zaluzhny from the position of commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and even in the Western media have been circulating for the fourth day. According to the latest information from CNN, the corresponding decree may appear by the end of the week. At the same time, the authorities tried not to comment on this issue, although, in the Presidential Office, they were tied to a common goal.

For several days, Ukraine has been "shaken" by numerous reports about the possible dismissal of Zaluzhny. The "rocking" of this "boat" began on the evening of January 29, when a number of politicians, journalists, and Telegram channels began to announce the resignation of the head of the committee, which is supposed to take place soon. According to Ukrainian media, Zelenskyi had a meeting with Zaluzhny, at which the president suggested that the general write a report on his dismissal. However, he refused. There were also reports in the media that Zaluzhny was allegedly offered another position: "Perhaps you will go somewhere as an ambassador. He refused."

The mass media named candidates for the position of Zaluzhny.

The Economist indicated that among the candidates for the position of commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces are the commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, and the head of the General Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, General Kyrylo Budanov. Note that a few days earlier, Syrskyi, Budanov, as well as paratrooper general Yevhen Moysyuk.

According to The Times, the higher command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukraine's international partners, in particular the United States and Great Britain, expressed concern about the situation surrounding rumors of Zaluzhny's resignation. So Zelensky was forced to "rescind his decision under pressure from high-ranking officials and international partners."

So, the process of General Zaluzhniy's dismissal was suspended.

The Ukrainian MP said anonymously that the president and the general met on the evening of January 29, but no decision was made. One of the problems was that there was no immediate replacement for Zaluzhny.

CNN, citing sources, reported that as of the evening of January 31, Zaluzhny still held the position of head of the commissar, but the presidential decree to dismiss the general is expected by the end of the week.

"This will be Zelenskyi's biggest military shakeup since the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia almost two years ago," the CNN article noted.

They also mentioned that the disagreements between the President and the General escalated after the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2023.

"Tensions are said to have escalated, especially when Zaluzhny described the war with Russia as a stalemate in an interview and essay for The Economist magazine in November," the journalists said.

According to the Presidential Office consular, the president, as commander-in-chief, has full responsibility for what happens in war and must ask questions about how specific tactical actions will change the situation on the front. The decision doesn't have to be politicized.

The possible dismissal of General Azaluzhnuy will have a harsh impact on the Ukrainian society and army, where the General has very high support and trust.

 Ukraine has an increasingly 'critical' shortage of artillery shells

Ukraine is facing a critical shortage of artillery shells, raising concerns about its ability to match Russia's firepower, reported Bloomberg on Jan. 31. Defense Minister Rustem Umerov sent a document to Ukraine's European allies highlighting the urgent need, indicating that Russia can currently fire three times more shells per day. The delay in foreign defense deliveries, coupled with political disputes, has left Ukraine struggling with a significant capability gap. Despite promises from the EU to deliver 1 million shells by March 2024, the production targets are unlikely to be met within the next month.

The impasse on aid, including the $61 billion stuck in the U.S. Congress and Hungary's blockage of a $54 billion EU aid package, has hindered Ukraine's battlefield capabilities. Umerov disclosed that Ukraine is currently unable to exceed 2,000 shells per day, a third of Russia's average daily shell usage. The EU, set to vote on the aid package on Feb. 1, is behind on its delivery targets, with challenges in meeting the promised 1 million shells. Meanwhile, Russia has ramped up its military production capacity, receiving additional ammunition from North Korea, which has become its largest arms supplier, according to Ukrainian military intelligence. Matching Russia's artillery output is crucial for Ukraine's strategic defense, as Umerov emphasized that the side with the most ammunition often prevails.

No evidence of prisoners on board Il-76. Ukraine wants to investigate while Russia hides all the details.

There is considerable doubt that Ukrainian prisoners of war were onboard the Russian Il-76 plane that crashed near Belgorod on January 24, according to Dmytro Lubinets, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights. Lubinets expressed skepticism, stating that there is no evidence or convincing arguments to support the presence of Ukrainian POWs on the plane. He emphasized the need for an international investigation, but Russia has not allowed experts to examine the crash site, enabling them to accuse Ukraine without substantiating their claims.

Lubinets drew parallels with previous incidents, such as the Olenivka tragedy, suggesting that it is part of Russia's strategy to launch information campaigns against Ukraine, intending to discredit the military assistance the country receives. He raised concerns about the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) not fulfilling its mandate and urged international partners, particularly the United States, to press the ICRC for a swift response. Lubinets acknowledged the likelihood of Russia obstructing investigations and shifting blame onto Ukraine, emphasizing Ukraine's commitment to openness and cooperation with an impartial inquiry.