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President Zelensky of Ukraine Poised to Dismiss Esteemed Army Chief Amid Escalating Tensions over War Strategy

In a move that signals a significant shakeup in Ukraine’s military leadership, President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to announce the dismissal of the country’s top army commander, Valery Zaluzhny, within days, according to reliable sources. The decision comes after weeks of escalating tensions between the president and his chief military officer.

The speculation gained momentum following a meeting at the president’s office on Monday, where Zaluzhny was reportedly informed of his termination. While an official announcement is pending, sources indicate that a presidential decree is imminent by the end of the week. If confirmed, this would mark the most substantial military restructuring by Zelensky since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion nearly two years ago.

Reports suggest that the rift between Zelensky and Zaluzhny deepened after the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year. The army chief’s description of the conflict with Russia as a stalemate in a November interview with The Economist reportedly heightened tensions between the two leaders.

Despite initial denials from the president’s spokesperson and the defense ministry, sources reveal that Zelensky expressed his decision to dismiss Zaluzhny in a gathering at his office on Monday. In a seemingly calm conversation, Zelensky offered the army chief an alternative position, which Zaluzhny declined. The president underscored that the rejection did not alter the decision to remove him from his current post.

Two potential successors are being discussed, according to a senior military commander. One candidate is Kyrylo Budanov, the current head of the Defense Intelligence Directorate, known for his close ties with Zelensky and representing a new generation of military leaders. The other frontrunner is Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Commander of Ukrainian Land Forces.

The dismissal of Zaluzhny comes amid ongoing challenges in Ukraine’s efforts to push Russian forces back from the territories they occupied in 2022. The military’s call for a massive mobilization effort of up to half a million new conscripts reflects the urgency and complexity of the situation, as Ukraine seeks to regroup and enhance its strategy against Russian incursions.