Kremlin responds to reports Zelensky will fire top general
Reports that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is planning to fire the country’s top general Valery Zaluzhny are further proof that the country’s leadership is in disarray, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
Several Western and Ukrainian media outlets reported earlier this week that the Ukrainian leader had asked Zaluzhny to resign from his post and become the head of the country’s National Security and Defense Council – an offer he is said to have declined.
Kiev’s censorship body, the Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security (CSCIS), has dismissed these reports as “untrue.” However, the New York Times said on Tuesday that the dismissal process had simply been slowed down amid a flurry of media leaks. The absence of an obvious replacement for the veteran general was also a reason for the delay.
Zelensky and Zaluzhny fell out after the general wrote an article in November, describing the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” – an assessment rejected by the Ukrainian president. Zaluzhny’s comments came amid Kiev’s botched counteroffensive in which Ukraine suffered catastrophic casualties while failing to breach Russian defenses, according to Moscow.
Commenting on the speculation surrounding Zaluzhny, Peskov said on Wednesday that Moscow was closely following the developments. “There are still a lot of questions. But one thing is clear: the Kiev regime has a lot of problems, everything is going wrong out there.”
He added that Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive had led to “a growing rift among the Kiev regime’s officials, both in the top military and civilian leadership.” Peskov also predicted that these divisions would only deepen as Russia’s military campaign continued.
Russia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also commented, suggesting that the situation around Zaluzhny shows that Ukraine has plunged into “agony.” “This is the final collapse of the statehood, of the entire governance system,” she said.