zelensky removes gen valery zaluzhny in shake up of ukraine military

Gen. Valery Zaluzhny led the effort that thwarted Russia’s initial assault on Kyiv. But his troops have struggled to make progress recently, and tensions have mounted with the civilian leadership.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said on Thursday he had removed his top general in the most significant leadership shake-up since Russia invaded Ukraine almost two years ago.

While praising Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the commander who has led the nation’s war effort for two years, Mr. Zelensky said “urgent changes” were needed to ensure victory.

“Starting today, a new management team will take over the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Mr. Zelensky said in an evening address to the nation, adding the he had met with General Zaluzhny and thanked him for his service.

General Zaluzhny will be replaced by Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of Ukraine’s ground forces, the president said.

The upheaval comes at a precarious moment for Ukraine in the war, amid intensified Russian attacks, skepticism in the United States over providing aid to Kyiv and the tensions between Ukraine’s civilian and military leadership. It remained unclear whether General Zaluzhny, who is widely popular in Ukraine’s military and society, had resigned or been fired from the position.

Gen. Zaluzhny led Ukraine’s war effort from the initial, successful defense against Russia’s attack through the past year of bloody, inconclusive fighting along a front that has barely shifted but where Ukrainian soldiers once again find themselves outmanned and outgunned.

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