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7 Mar, 2024 22:15

Ukraine sends fired top general to London

President Vladimir Zelensky has tapped former commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny as Kiev’s new envoy to the UK
Ukraine sends fired top general to London

Former Ukrainian commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny has been appointed the country’s new ambassador to the UK, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

The ministry said it has already informed London about the development, formally requesting approval from it.

“The President of Ukraine approved the candidacy of Valery Zaluzhny for the post of Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United Kingdom,” the ministry said in a short statement.

Zelensky himself further elaborated on the matter in a video address, insisting the appointment would only benefit relations between Kiev and London and that their ties “should only get stronger.”

“Zaluzhny told me that this is the direction he would like to take – diplomacy,” the president claimed.

Zaluzhny ended up being fired by Zelensky from his post as the country’s top general last month, with the Ukrainian president citing the need to bring “new approaches” and “new strategies” to the conflict with Russia. The commander was replaced by General Aleksandr Syrsky, the head of the Ukrainian Ground Forces at the time.

The pick has been widely seen as an unpopular one amongst the military, largely thanks to the questionable reputation of Syrsky, said to be nicknamed “The Butcher” over the commanding style he showed while leading the troops during both the defense of Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut) and the subsequent attempt to retake the city as part of the 2023 summer offensive. Both battles have resulted in decisive defeats for Kiev, coupled with massive casualties among the troops.

The firing of Zaluzhny came after a conflict between the commander-in-chief and Zelensky that had been rumored for months. The two had been reportedly disagreeing over military priorities, while Zelensky had also allegedly grown wary of the popular general, regarding him as a potential political opponent.