Zaluzhnyi steps down as Commander-in-Chief, replaced by Syrskyi

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi commanded the Armed Forces for over 2.5 years
Valeriy Zaluzhnyi commanded the Armed Forces for over 2.5 years

Following a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Valerii Zaluzhnyi is stepping down as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and will be replaced by the Commander of the Ground Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, Zelenskyy announced on Feb. 8.

Read also: Zelenskyy wants to replace ‘range of state leaders’, not just Armed Forces chief Zaluzhny

“I appointed Col. Gen. Syrskyi as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said during his evening video address, without directly stating that he had dismissed Zaluzhnyi.

The president added that Syrskyi has a successful track record as a senior military commander, including the defense of Kyiv in February-March 2022, as well the liberation of Kharkiv Oblast.

General Zaluzhnyi held the position since July 2021. His resignation followed days of public debate over the soundness of his dismissal, starting after a Jan. 29 media report of a meeting between Zelenskyy and the general, where the president said he plans to fire Zaluzhnyi.

On Feb. 1, Zaluzhnyi published an article which outlined his strategic vision of Ukraine’s viable path to victory in the war with Russia, aimed to seize and maintain the initiative on the battlefield, despite Moscow’s numerical advantage in personnel and technology.

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Western media reported that one of the main disagreements between the president and the commander-in-chief was their differing views on mobilization needs: Zaluzhnyi insisted on drafting 400,000 to 500,000 additional troops.

Read also: Political scientist describes ‘classic’ mistakes made by Ukrainian authorities in drafting mobilization bill

Shortly after the announcement, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko thanked Zaluzhnyi for his service to Ukraine and its defense.

“Thanks to you, Ukrainians truly believed in our Armed Forces, which enjoy the highest trust of our society today,” Klitschko wrote on Telegram.

Read also: Ukraine's military chief Zaluzhnyi to swap frontline strategies for lectures?

“As a combat general during the war, you have faced many critical moments and made many difficult decisions.”

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated that Zaluzhnyi’s resignation is due to "the need to revise the tactics of actions that did not fully yield the proper results last year." He added that it is necessary to "prevent stagnation at the front line" and to find "new functional and high-tech solutions" to maintain and develop the initiative.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine