Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, addressing a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, 26 December 2023. EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK


Ukrainian army chief targets Zelenskyy as axe seems about to fall


Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the head of the Ukrainian army who is rumoured to be in line for the chop from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, outlined in an essay  a plan for how his country could beat off Russian aggression – but his comments seem barbed against the Kyiv leadership.

Writing for CNN, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi laid the problems his army is facing at the feet of Zelenskyy.

It is not the first time Zaluzhnyi has shown his discontent with the Government. In November he wrote about a failed counter-offensive, expressing pessimism regarding the direction of the conflict, much to the irritation of Kyiv’s powerbrokers.

In his most recent missive, he stated: “We must acknowledge the significant advantage enjoyed by the enemy in mobilising human resources and how that compares with the inability of state institutions in Ukraine to improve the manpower levels of our armed forces without the use of unpopular measures.

“Finally, we remain hamstrung by the imperfections of the regulatory framework in our country, as well as the partial monopolisation of the defence industry.

“These lead to production bottlenecks – in ammunition, for instance – which further deepen Ukraine’s dependence on its allies for supplies,” Zaluzhnyi said.

He added that there was a need for the “wholesale redesign of battlefield operations – and the abandoning of outdated, stereotypical thinking”.

Zaluzhnyi noted what he said was a “reduction in military support from key allies, grappling with their own political tensions”.

About the war itself, he referenced what he called a “change in conditions”, with a heavy emphasis on technology and the related need for unmanned weaponry, in particular drones.

He said the current “war of attrition” was to the advantage of Russia, which has more men, a much bigger economy and does not seem to be impaired by Western economic sanctions.

To make matters worse, he said, the conflicts in the Middle East were distracting international attention.

“In conclusion, in 2024, we must focus our main efforts in three areas,” Zaluzhnyi wrote.

“Creating a system to provide our armed forces with high-tech assets. Introducing a new philosophy of training and warfare, which takes account of restrictions in assets and how they can be deployed.

“And mastering new combat capabilities as soon as possible.

“We already possess capabilities to eliminate the enemy and ensure the existence of statehood,” he said.

“Our goal must be to seize the moment – to maximise our accumulation of the latest combat capabilities, which will allow us to commit fewer resources to inflicting maximum damage on the enemy, to end the aggression and protect Ukraine from it in the future.”

CNN noted in a disclaimer that the release of the material was scheduled prior to reports of the general’s possible termination.