The Ukraine government has notified the White House that it intends to remove the nation’s top military commander who is in charge of managing the fight against Russian occupation forces.
The decision to remove General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, who has disagreements with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on several matters, comes after a counteroffensive by Ukraine last year that was unable to retake a sizable portion of territory held by Russia.
According to a source close to Zelenskiy’s office, the president is against Zaluzhnyi’s plan to mobilize an additional 500,000 troops, and the two are at odds over this new military mobilization drive.
The process of removing Zaluzhnyi from his position as the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, the source noted, has been put on hold while the parties negotiate their next course of action.
The source, who spoke under anonymity, added that it was unclear how long that process would take.
According to a second informed source, the White House has not taken a stand on Zaluzhnyi’s replacement plan.
The source, who spoke about the matter while requesting anonymity, emphasized that the White House responded that they neither supported nor objected to their sovereign decision.
“The White House expressed that it is up to Ukraine to make its own sovereign decisions about its personnel,” the source went on to say.
The White House was notified by Ukraine of the plan to fire Zaluzhnyi, according to a report first published by The Washington Post.
According to a person close to the Ukrainian president’s office, US officials informed Ukraine that they had no objections to Zaluzhnyi’s termination.
The source stated, “The US is okay with Ukraine firing him.”
“Right now, both sides (the president and the general) have paused determining what the future will look like, and for now the status quo will remain until further notice,” a source said.
According to the source, the president’s belief that the military has an adequate number of personnel who could be deployed more effectively was a factor in the conflicts between Zelenskiy and Zaluzhnyi regarding mobilization.
“Zaluzhnyi is adamant about rallying 500,000 men. According to the source, Zelenskiy believes that is no longer necessary.
Zaluzhnyi claimed that the government had not mobilized enough troops in a column he published on the CNN website on Thursday.
Zaluzhnyi also referred to as “the Iron General,” is a huge celebrity. His dismissal might be detrimental to the morale of Ukrainian forces fighting a massive Russian force with substantial munitions stockpiles while attempting to hold positions along more than 620 miles (1,000 km) of frontlines.
Essential ammunition is running low for Ukrainian forces. The country’s main arms supplier, the United States, has run out of supplies, and the approval of a new aid package has been delayed by a disagreement between the White House and certain Republican lawmakers.
According to a flurry of reports in the Western and Ukrainian media, Zaluzhnyi turned down Zelenskiy’s request for him to step down this week.
Though Zaluzhnyi is a well-liked and charismatic leader, his replacement may indicate Kyiv’s intention to take a new tack in the war.