The Mayor of the Ukraine capital Kyiv Vitali Klitschko appears to have publicly turned on the country’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In a recent interview with a Western media outlet, Klitschko said the Ukrainian President has to “pay for [his] failures” regarding the war with Russia.
It comes amid speculation that Zelenskyy may be losing support at home. Tensions seem to be growing between the head of state and his military, which remains popular among the Ukrainian public.
In the interview on December 2 with Swedish news outlet 20 Minuten, Klitschko emphasised that Ukraine must continue to support Zelenskyy until the war with Russia is over.
Following that, the former boxer-turned-politician appeared to have less hope for the President’s future.
“People see who is effective and who is not,” he said, describing Zelenskyy as already “paying for the mistakes” made both before and during the invasion.
“People wonder why we weren’t better prepared for this war. Why Zelenskyy denied until the end that it would happen. Or why it was possible that the Russians were able to reach Kyiv so quickly.
“The President has an important function today and we must support him until the end of the war. But at the end of this war, every politician will pay for his successes or failures,” he went on to say.
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) December 1, 2023
Klitschko’s apparent rebuke comes as Zelenskyy finds himself facing more opposition at home.
He is now regularly engaging in a verbal war of words with his military and insiders have recently accused him of violating the country’s chain of command by engaging with heads of the armed forces directly.
Public favour in Ukraine also seems to be pooling behind the military. Zelenskyy has previously warned the army’s top brass not to “get any ideas” regarding potential political ambitions.
The Kyiv mayor seems to be putting his weight behind the military, pledging full support to the country’s top general Valery Zaluzhny over a recent spat he had with Ukraine’s political elite.
Zaluzhny came under fire from Zelenskyy after the military leader stated that the war was now at a stalemate, something the President has vociferously denied.
“He told the truth,” Klitschko said regarding Zaluzhny’s controversial statement. “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth.
“Of course, we can euphorically lie to our people and our partners. But you can’t do that forever,” he added.
“Some of our politicians have criticised Zaluzhny for his clear words – wrongly. I stand behind him.”
As for his own ambitions, Klitschko did not rule out a run for Ukraine’s presidency when and if asked, although did say it would be “stupid” to think about the possibility right now.
“We fight for our freedom and independence,” he said. “So, talking about my political ambitions now wouldn’t be wise.”
He also denounced what he called the current “trench warfare” between Ukraine’s politicians at a time when it was unclear whether the State would survive.
“Today, the only question is whether Ukraine continues to exist at all.”
The European Commission has been pressured to detail the “carbon footprint of fighter jets” sent by European Union Member States to Ukraine. https://t.co/sWW5xOeE9u
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 22, 2023