Relations between Zelensky and Zalushny have been tense for weeks. On Monday, the Ukrainian president is said to have called on his commander-in-chief to resign.
According to consistent media reports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is said to have attempted to fire Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zalushny. Due to pressure from the USA and Great Britain as well as high-ranking military officials, Zelensky had to reverse this decision, the Times reported.
The Guardian reported, citing opposition MPs, that the president asked Saluzhny to resign on Monday, but he refused. The New York Times also reported on Zelensky’s plan to fire Saluzhny.
For weeks, relations between Zelensky and Saluzhny have been strained in view of the failed counteroffensive against the Russian attackers. The 50-year-old Salushnyj became commander in chief of the army a few months before the Russian invasion in February 2022. Under his command, Ukrainian troops withstood the invasion and even recaptured occupied territories. The general is considered popular among his soldiers and the population. That’s why he was said to have political ambitions, which he denied.
The Times now reported that, according to high-ranking officers, Salushnyj was summoned to a personal meeting with Zelenskyj on Monday. There he told the presidential advisers that their assessments of the military situation were more positive than realistic. He was then asked to resign. When he refused, Zelensky said he would sign a decree for his dismissal.
Potential successors decline
After potential successors rejected the offer to take over as commander-in-chief, Zelensky was forced to back down and initially stick with Saluzhny, the report said.
On Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had already contradicted reports about the dismissal of Commander-in-Chief Saluzhny. “Dear journalists, we answer everyone at the same time: That’s not true,” the ministry said on Telegram.
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