Ukraine’s top general warned Zelensky of huge losses – WaPo
Kiev should brace itself for another year of extensive casualties, Ukraine’s top military commander Valery Zaluzhny has told President Vladimir Zelensky, according to the Washington Post. The general delivered the bleak outlook as the president informed him that he would soon be relieved of his post, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous Ukrainian officials.
Earlier this week, several media outlets claimed that Zelensky was poised to fire Zaluzhny in the near future. In recent months, multiple publications have suggested that relations between Zelensky and Zaluzhny had soured since the general characterized the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” in an article for The Economist in November – an assessment that the Ukrainian president strongly rejected.
In its article on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Zelensky summoned General Zaluzhny on Monday to notify him of his imminent dismissal. The president reportedly cited a need for change at the top amid growing war fatigue among Ukrainians and flagging Western support.
A source told the newspaper that, while he received the news calmly, Zaluzhny warned the president that a rapid improvement in Ukraine’s position on the battlefield was unlikely, regardless of who takes his place. He reportedly insisted that Kiev should mobilize around 400,000 more reservists to ensure parity with Moscow.
According to the article, Zelensky rejected this proposal, citing financial constraints and potentially adverse political ramifications.
The WaPo claimed that the Ukrainian head of state could still reverse course but, if he does not, a formal decree regarding Zaluzhny’s dismissal will likely be issued by the end of this week.
The media outlet named General Aleksandr Syrsky, the current ground forces commander, and Lieutenant General Kirill Budanov, the head of military intelligence, as possible candidates for the post.
On Wednesday, CNN also reported that President Zelensky and General Zaluzhny had a conversation of this description on Monday.
Commenting on similar reports by the Financial Times and the Washington Post earlier this week, Zelensky’s spokesman Sergey Nikiforov dismissed them as “untrue.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the reports were further proof that the “Kiev regime has a lot of problems, everything is going wrong out there.”
He referred to Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive, claiming that the push, which resulted in no significant territorial gains while apparently incurring heavy casualties, had led to a “growing rift among the Kiev regime’s officials, both in the top military and civilian leadership.”