Updated February 8th, 2024 at 22:52 IST

Zelenskyy Fires Ukraine’s Top Military Commander Zaluzhnyi Amid Ongoing War With Russia

“I met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. I thanked him for two years of defense of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said announcing commander's dismissal.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Ukraine's General Valerii Zaluzhnyi and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. | Image:X
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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has officially announced the dismissal of Ukraine’s top commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, in what is being seen as one of the biggest military shakeup since Russia launched its full-scale invasion. Zelenskyy said that he has appointed Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 

"I have appointed Colonel-General Syrsky as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in a video message on Thursday evening.

In a Telegram post, Zelenskyy made the formal announcement sharing a photo of himself with Zaluzhnyi. Zelensky wrote: “I met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. I thanked him for two years of defense of Ukraine. We discussed what kind of renewal the Armed Forces of Ukraine need. We also discussed who could be in the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The time for such a renewal is now. I offered Valerii Fedorovych [Zaluzhnyi] to continue to be in the team.”

I met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
I thanked him for the two years of defending Ukraine.
We discussed the renewal that the Armed Forces of Ukraine require.
We also discussed who could be part of the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The time for such a renewal… pic.twitter.com/tMnUEZ3BCX

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa)

‘Everyone must change and adapt to the new realities’

Zaluzhnyi, on his Telegram channel confirmed his dismissal saying, “The tasks of 2022 are different from those of 2024.Therefore, everyone must change and adapt to the new realities as well.” He added, “[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.”

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Former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko in an esrlier post on Telegram weighed in on the speculations that Ukraine's President plans on removing his top military commander. Poroshenko said that the European allies of Kyiv expressed “shock” at the rumours of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy dismissing his Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Zaluzhny amid the ongoing Russia Ukraine war. The reports that Zaluzhny was fired "shocked” Kyiv's European allies, former President of Ukraine said on Telegram.

"I'm in Brussels. Our partners are shocked by the rumours [about Zaluzhny's dismissal],” he wrote in a post.

Poroshenko insisted that the President of Ukraine “should neither sign nor publish a decree on the resignation of the commander in chief.” Reports emerged that Ukraine’s defense chief Zaluzhny was asked to resign and that President Zelenskyy signed but did not publish the corresponding decree. Ukraine's Defence Ministry in a post later denied such reports. Zelensky’s official spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said that the president “did not dismiss the commander-in-chief.”

In September, last year, Ukraine’s then-Defense Minister Oleksii Reznkov submitted his resignation amid reports that the Ukrainian president  Zelenskyy was planning to replace him. The removal of the then Ukrainian defence minister came during a shakeup during the war with Russia and  Zelesnkyy’s efforts to fight corruption within the  military.

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Published February 8th, 2024 at 22:40 IST