Zelensky Appears To Confirm Plans To Replace Top Military Commander, Hints At Wider Reshuffle
Commenting on piling reports of his alleged spat with his Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhny, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Italian Rai News 24 TV channel that he was planning a major overhaul of the country's military and civilian leadership.
- The Washington Post reported last week that Zelensky had notified the White House of its intention to fire Zaluzhny, which was met with scepticism, but it was acknowledged that any personal changes would be Zelensky's sovereign decision. This came on the heels of reports suggesting that the President last week asked the top military commander to step down voluntarily but Zaluzhny refused, which was played down by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry.
- Available opinion polls have shown Zelensky's approval ratings decline as the war progressed and the initial rally-around-the-flag effect weakened. A survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) suggested that the share of people who trusted the President fell to 62% in December from 84% a year earlier. Meanwhile, trust in the country's military and its Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny remained high at 96% and 88% respectively.
- Commenting on the recent rumours, Zelensky told Rai News that "we need a reset, a new beginning" and explained that this applies to senior officials in various sectors of the administration, not just in the military. He said that he was "thinking about [Zaluzhny's] replacement, but we cannot say that we have replaced one person".