Will Zelenskiy dismiss General Zaluzhniy?
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, may be preparing for a significant reshuffle of the country's top military command.
The Ukrainian Government informed the USA about the possible dismissal of General of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhniy. The Washington Post wrote about it, referring to their two anonymous sources.
The White House officials didn`t support or object to the decision but recognized it as a sovereign choice of the Ukrainian President. According to the article, Zelenskiy has not yet issued an official decree on removing Zaluzhnyi, and it is unknown when this may happen.
On February 3, Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, at which the fate of the head of the Zaluzhny Committee was supposed to be decided.
However, no personnel decisions were made based on the bid results. Instead, the situation at the front, the production of drones and shells, and fortifications became the key aspects of the discussion during the Stavka.
"The plan for 2024. Contracts have been increased. We have planned an additional budget specifically for drones, and we will ensure its implementation," Zelenskyi said in a statement based on the results of the Stavka.
According to the president, in general, this year, more than 90% of drones on the front are of domestic production.
Rumors about Zaluzhniy's dismissal already had an impact on the army
The uncertainty surrounding whether the president supports General Zaluzhniy's orders has reportedly impacted the morale of the Ukrainian army and affected the collaboration of senior officers with their counterparts from allied armed forces, according to The New York Times. The lack of clarity on presidential backing has raised concerns and undermined confidence in the command structure, potentially affecting the overall effectiveness of military operations.
General Zaluzhny possesses very high authority in the army and is undoubtedly one of the key figures in the country whose dismissal would be very controversial and would mark a key moment in Ukraine's war with Russia.
What is known about the conflict between President Zelenskiy and General Zaluzhniy?
The Financial Times recently reported that the Ukrainian military has observed a discrepancy between the actual situation on the front and the official reports from the authorities. Sources speaking to the FT have stated that President Zelensky's message of "we are moving forward" and the strategy of implementing "strict censorship of bad news" is no longer deemed appropriate. This approach is seen as failing to motivate both Ukrainians and Western allies, given the ongoing challenges and uncertainties in the conflict. The divergence between the official narrative and the reality on the ground has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the communication strategy and its impact on public morale and international support.
At the beginning of November, The Economist magazine published an interview with Zaluzhny, in which he said, in particular, that the war had "reached a dead end." The interview of the Armed Forces commander-in-chief allegedly caused "panic moods" among international partners. After Zaluzhnyi's statements, Zelensky claimed that he did not consider the situation at the front a "stalemate.
A favor for Russia
Rumors about Zaluzniy`s dismissal coincided with a particularly dangerous moment of the war for Ukraine when Russia stepped up attacks on the battlefield at the same time as intensifying its propaganda campaign aimed at undermining Ukraine's support in the West. This puts Ukraine in great danger because chaos in Ukraine will work in favor of Russia.
This puts Ukraine in great danger because chaos in Ukraine will work in favor of Russia.