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Analysis

The rift between Zelensky and Ukraine’s top general comes at a crucial time for Kyiv

It is clear that the country’s president would like to replace his most popular commander but that is proving more difficult than it looks, writes Askold Krushelnycky. With key Western allies still unable to agree to fresh aid and Russia stepping up both air and ground attacks, the clash has boiled over at a bad time

Wednesday 31 January 2024 19:06 GMT
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Volodymyr Zelensky would not have wanted General Zaluzhny’s fate to become such a hot-button issue
Volodymyr Zelensky would not have wanted General Zaluzhny’s fate to become such a hot-button issue (Keystone/AP)

One of Ukraine’s chief strengths in its fight against Russia’s invasion has been its immense sense of national unity, with every sector of society involved in repelling the Russian invasion.

But the apparent attempt by the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to remove Ukraine’s top – and vastly popular – military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, from his post has revealed cracks in that unity.

Zelensky is said to have asked Zaluzhny to leave his post during a meeting on Monday but the general refused. Zelensky’s spokesman, Sergii Nykyforov, refuted that Zaluzhny had been asked to leave his role as military commander and offered another job, possibly as an adviser on defence or an ambassador. But the reports continued to come.

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