Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is reportedly set to dismiss his Chief of General Staff, Valery Zaluzhny, by the end of the week, as per sources cited by CNN on Wednesday. Similar speculations have circulated in outlets like the Financial Times and the Washington Post, previously denied by Kiev.
The rift between Zelensky and Zaluzhny allegedly originated from the general’s November article in The Economist, characterizing the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” following Kiev’s unsuccessful counteroffensive—an assessment vehemently rejected by the president.
CNN reports that Zaluzhny was summoned to Zelensky’s office on Monday, where he was informed of his impending dismissal in the coming days. Although no formal announcement has been made, an insider reportedly informed CNN that a presidential decree is expected by week’s end.
Initial rumors of the military leader’s replacement emerged earlier this week based on anonymous sources. The Washington Post claimed Zelensky justified the decision by citing the need for a new commander to reinvigorate the situation, given war fatigue among the Ukrainian people and reduced foreign military support.
Allegedly offered an advisory role, Zaluzhny declined, opting to exit the military entirely, according to an insider. After reports surfaced on Monday, Zelensky’s spokesman and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry refuted the claims, branding them as “untrue.”
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Zelensky reconsidered the decision after it became public. However, another source suggested the dismissal was only temporarily postponed as Kiev searches for a suitable replacement.
Moscow characterized the dismissal rumors as a sign of disarray in Kiev’s leadership, citing “a lot of problems,” according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. He predicted growing divisions in Ukraine’s military and civilian leadership following the failed counteroffensive.