Zelenskiy confirms plans to shake up Ukraine’s military and political leadership

Latest bid to send vital US military aid to Kyiv is doomed, top Republican says

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed that he is considering sacking his popular top general as part of a “reset” of the country’s leadership, as a senior US Republican lambasted a new Bill to unblock billions of dollars in vital military aid for Kyiv.

Kyiv’s political scene has been dominated in recent days by rumours that Mr Zelenskiy intends to dismiss Gen Valery Zaluzhnyi, the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, as the country prepares to mark two years since Russia launched its all-out invasion.

“Definitely a reset, a new beginning is necessary… I have something serious in mind, which does not concern just one person but the direction of the country’s leadership,” Mr Zelenskiy told Italy’s Rai News.

“I mean the replacement of a series of state leaders, not just in a single sector like the military,” he added. “If we want to win, we must all push in the same direction, convinced of victory. We cannot be discouraged… we must have the right positive energy.”


Both Mr Zelenskiy and Gen Zaluzhnyi enjoy high popularity ratings but have reportedly disagreed over several aspects of Ukraine’s military operations. The dismissal of Gen Zaluzhnyi could be a risky move, given his high standing among his comrades and concern over the dwindling flow of western arms supplies amid heavy Russian attacks.

“As far as the ground war is concerned – there is a stalemate, it’s a fact”, Mr Zelenskiy said, adding that “there have been delays in equipment and delays mean mistakes”.

“We are fighting terrorists who have one of the largest armies in the world; ammunition is not enough, modern technology is also needed,” he added, before warning: “War can come to you… and when it arrives, no one will be ready, European armies are not ready. It will be a shock – where is the guarantee that Nato will react promptly?”

The European Union agreed a four-year, €50 billion aid deal for Ukraine last week, but Republicans in the US Congress have refused to approve a White House request for about $60 billion (€56 billion) in arms, ammunition and other support for Kyiv.

Senators have now prepared a new package that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, other allies and for tighter US border security, but Republicans in the House of Representatives who support former US president Donald Trump seem unlikely to back it.

Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of the House, said on Sunday that the Bill was “even worse than we expected… If this Bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival.”

Heavy fighting continued in several sectors of the 1,000km front line in eastern Ukraine on Monday, and officials said Russian shelling killed at least four civilians in Kherson city.

The Kremlin condemned Ukraine’s shelling of the occupied town of Lysychansk on Saturday, which reportedly killed 28 people in a bakery, as a “monstrous act of terrorism”.

Ukrainian media said the strike hit a restaurant where occupation officials were gathered for a party. Russian-installed officials in Luhansk region said the dead included the local “emergencies minister” and two Lysychansk council deputies.

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Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe