February 23, 2024

President Zelenskyy thanked General Valerii Zaluzhnyi for his service, says he should remain ‘on his team’.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appointed Oleksandr Syrsky, who has led Ukraine’s ground forces since 2019, as the new head of Ukraine’s armed forces, after he dismissed General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

In a post on X, Zelenskyy on Thursday thanked Zaluzhnyi for his two years of service, and said that the time had come for changes in the military leadership.

Zelenskyy said Zaluzhnyi should remain “on his team”.

Zaluzhnyi conceded that the country’s military strategy “must change” almost two years into Russia’s invasion.

“The tasks of 2022 are different from those of 2024. Therefore, everyone must change and adapt to the new realities as well in order to win together,” he said after his long-rumoured dismissal was announced.

The move amounts to the most serious shakeup of the top military brass since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in Febraury 2022.

“The war does not remain the same. War changes and demands change. New approaches and new strategies are needed. Today, a decision was made on the need to change the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said.

Zelenskyy said the new armed forces leadership team will be taking over on Thursday.

He called on the country’s new military leadership to devise a strategy for this year to beat back Russian forces.

“A realistic, detailed action plan for the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2024 should be on the table, taking into account the real situation on the battlefield now and the prospects,” Zelenskyy said.

Last year, he said, Ukraine managed to “regain control” of the sky, but said failed to reach objectives “on the ground”.

Zelenskyy said the country needs “working rotation systems”, and a new approach to mobilisation and recruitment.

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