“Signs of a serious rift between Zelensky and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”

“Signs of a serious rift between Zelensky and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”

Defense Minister Rustam Umarov described rumors about a dispute between the government in Kiev and the military leadership as “pure fiction.” The work of the Russians, says the Ukrainian intelligence service. According to secret intelligence, the Kremlin is deliberately driving a wedge between Zelensky and Zalozny and that these plots are part of Maidan 3, a grand plan to destabilize Ukraine.

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The Ukrainian Defense Minister describes the matter as “pure fantasy,” and the intelligence chief speaks of a Russian conspiracy. However, there are growing signs that a serious rift has occurred between President Zelenskyy and his top commander, Zalozny. Meanwhile, political resistance to the current government is growing and opposition parties are pressing for elections. Despite martial law. Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP) (Afghan News Agency/Associated Press)


Conspiracy or not, this is the truth The Economist On November 1, he published a column and an interview with Supreme Commander Valery Zalozny in which he stated that in the Russo-Ukrainian war, both sides had reached “a technological level that puts us in a stalemate.” Zalozny also wrote that the Russian population is three times the size of the Ukrainian population, that the country’s economy is ten times the size of the Ukrainian economy, and that Russia would win a long war. Zalozny also said that the Ukrainian military failed to achieve planned results, such as seizing Crimea.

“Russia will win a long war,” Zalozny said.

A bad time

Zalozny’s comments came at an unfortunate time: support among Kiev’s allies for further financing of the war or supply of equipment was sharply eroding. It is also a slap in the face for Zelensky: that his top commander made such high-profile statements without knowing his boss in advance. The Kyiv Post quoted an anonymous source as saying that Zelensky told Zalozny that he should have discussed the article with him and that the supreme leader subsequently apologized.

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The government’s public response did not take long. Vice President Ihor Zovka said on national television that Zalozhny’s claim of a deadlock “facilitates the aggressor’s work” and creates “panic” among Ukraine’s allies. During a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on November 4, Zelensky responded to the alleged confrontation.

“This is not a stalemate,” Zelensky said. Russia controls the airspace. We protect our soldiers. No one wants to throw them away as Russia throws away its people, like meat. We have to wait for the F-16s, for the boys to be trained, and then for them to come back. “When there is air defense on the front, soldiers move forward,” Zelensky said.

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Military in politics

In an interview with a British tabloid newspaper the sun Without mentioning a man or a horse, Zelensky stated that some soldiers were trying to engage in a policy unfavorable to the war effort. He added: “If you go to war thinking that you will go into politics or elections tomorrow, then you act in your words and on the front as a politician and not as a soldier, and I think this is a big mistake.” Zelensky said. “If a soldier decides to practice politics, that is his right. He must practice politics, and therefore he cannot participate in war.”

Exit papers are ready

The uproar was intensified by a Facebook post on November 7 by Volodymyr Aryev, a member of parliament for the European Solidarity Party, an opposition party led by former President Poroshenko. Arif wrote that Zalozny’s dismissal papers were ready to be signed, but he withdrew this statement a few days later due to lack of evidence. Aryev is not alone, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security, Defense and Intelligence Mariana Pezohla is openly calling for Zalozny’s dismissal because he does not have a clear vision of the future course of the war. Interestingly, Pezuhla is a member of Zelenskyy’s party.

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Meanwhile, the opposition is exploiting the dispute and using hostility to further undermine Zelensky’s position. The Channel 5 website, owned by former President Poroshenko, published an interview with Armed Forces Major General Dmytro Marchenko on November 13, in which he said he would like to see Zalozny as a presidential candidate. But sources from the civilian and military leadership dispute this Kyiv Post Zalozny has no political ambitions, and Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak has repeatedly stated that the president and his supreme commander have no conflict and are “working together to achieve victory.”

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Purge among soldiers

However, underneath all this unity and affection, it is as if a fire is burning, as evidenced by the unexpected resignation at the beginning of this month of Viktor Korenko, the commander of the special operations forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to Khorenko, who stated that he learned of his dismissal “from the media,” his boss Zalozhny was also surprised by the departure. Zelensky’s team told the Kyiv Post that the president was not obligated to report and explain his decision, but questions had been raised about Khorenko’s performance. So far, Zalozny has not commented on the dismissal of his subordinate.

A few days after Khorenko’s dismissal, the Ukrainian newspaper Pravda reported that the Ministry of Defense was preparing to dismiss two more commanders: Oleksandr Tarnavsky from the Operational and Strategic Group of the “Tavria” forces and Serhiy Neev from the United Armed Forces. Then Defense Minister Omerov announced that no layoffs were being prepared, but everything was being done to “increase efficiency.” And that if there is redundancy, this will be announced “quite frankly”.

Political animal

According to analyst Konstantin Skorkin from the research center Carnegie Endowment for International Peace General Zalozny showed his political aspirations at an early stage. For example, shortly after taking office as leader in July 2021, he made contacts with paramilitary and nationalist circles unfavorable with Zelensky, and in December 2021 he appointed a former leader of the ultra-nationalist organization Right Sector as his advisor.

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While the Russian invasion initially boosted the popularity of both Zelensky and Zalozny and they both stood together against the enemy, they had their first conflict publicly in July 2022. The General Staff then prohibited Ukrainians eligible for military service from changing their place of residence without permission from the military authorities. This is to prevent evasion of military service. Zelensky described the measure as “slavery” and ordered the military not to take such steps without his express permission.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, the rift between military and civilian authorities seems self-evident, reinforced by corruption, an uncertain future, and war fatigue. The latter is increasingly at odds with Zelensky’s irreconcilable stance toward negotiations and compromises.

general opinion

According to Skurkin, Zelensky is supported in this regard by public opinion that opposes territorial concessions to the Russians and opposes wartime elections (which Zelensky would likely win anyway because the majority of the Ukrainian population does not want the old elites to return). As Poroshenko wants.) The opposition parties don’t have much to show for now, and their only hope is someone like Zalozny.

“Only Zalozny has a chance to beat Zelenskyy.”

In a hypothetical election, only a military candidate would be able to defeat Zelensky. According to recent polls, Zalozny is already the second most popular public figure in the country, and the only person who has a chance of beating Zelensky in a hypothetical presidential election if he decides to run. Meanwhile, Zelensky warned soldiers to stay away from politics and focus on the war. “Some forces are pushing the army into politics,” he told The Sun. Zelensky reiterated that he finds it “irresponsible” to hold elections during a war.

Skorkin believes that the inevitable military intervention in politics, which he says is increasing every month, increases the risk of internal destabilization in Ukraine.

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