Volodymyr Zelensky’s controversial moves heighten turmoil in Ukraine


In recent developments, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s attempts to circumnavigate the complexities of his nation’s political landscape have led to a series of controversial decisions that threaten to plunge Ukraine into unprecedented turmoil. As the dynamics between Zelensky and key military figures come under scrutiny, concerns about the stability of the country intensify.

The focal point of this political storm revolves around the purported dismissal of Army Commander-in-Chief General Valery Zaluzhny. While rumors circulated about Zaluzhny’s removal from his post, the Ukrainian President’s Office refuted these claims, showcasing a photograph of Zaluzhny and Chief of the General Staff Sergei Shaptala in Zaluzhny’s office. However, the underlying tension between Zelensky and Zaluzhny appears to be an open secret.

According to Russian news agency Sputnik, Anatoliy Matviychuk, a military expert and retired colonel, shed light on the longstanding animosity between the President and the top general, dating back almost a year. Zelensky’s attempt to shift blame onto Zaluzhny for a failed counteroffensive exacerbated their already strained relationship, as highlighted by some Western media outlets in November. Zaluzhny, critical of Zelensky’s handling of military matters, faced further challenges when his close aide, Gennady Chastyakov, was killed under suspicious circumstances.

The downing of Russia’s Il-76 military transport plane by the Ukrainian military on January 24 added fuel to the fire, intensifying the rift between Zelensky and Zaluzhny. The incident triggered a serious conversation between the two leaders, possibly contributing to Zelensky’s decision to remove the general from his position.

Matviychuk suggested that Zelensky’s desire for Zaluzhny’s removal stems from the general’s rising socio-political significance, posing a threat to Zelensky’s hold on power. The military force, loyal to Zaluzhny, could potentially challenge the President’s authority, leading to a change in political leadership.

The retired colonel also highlighted the intriguing division within the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, with Zaluzhny aligning with the American sector and Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence, operating under UK control. Matviychuk speculated that British intelligence services might be orchestrating a plot to test the waters before initiating a change in Ukrainian leadership.

Zelensky, once dubbed a Ukrainian Churchill, is experiencing a significant decline in popularity both domestically and internationally. December polls indicated a stark contrast in trust levels, with only 32 percent of Ukrainians expressing confidence in the President compared to 70 percent for Zaluzhny. The prospect of a change in the military-political regime in Kiev becomes a precarious situation for Zelensky, as he is perceived as having outlived his usefulness for the West.

The expert noted that Zelensky faces threats from three influential groups—the Western curators who may seek to remove him due to privileged knowledge, Ukrainian nationalists dissatisfied with his leadership, and local oligarchs stripped of their businesses. The consequences for Zelensky, should he leave the political arena, are potentially dire, with the retired colonel suggesting that these forces could resort to physical harm.

Russian RT in a report quoting CNN said, Zelensky’s intention to dismiss General Zaluzhny, with a formal announcement expected by the end of the week. The alleged deterioration in their relationship, coupled with Zaluzhny’s critical assessment of the military situation, appears to be driving this decision.

The relationship between the two men reportedly began to deteriorate when the general wrote an article for The Economist in November, describing the battlefield situation as a “stalemate” following Kiev’s failed counteroffensive. The president has vehemently rejected that assessment.

According to CNN, Zaluzhny was called into Zelensky’s office on January 29, 2024, where he was told he would be fired in the next few days. While no formal announcement has yet been made, a source allegedly told the outlet that a presidential decree is expected by the end of the week.

Rumors that the country’s popular military leader would be replaced originally started circulating in the media earlier this week based on anonymous sources in Kiev. The Washington Post claimed that the president explained his decision to Zaluzhny by saying that a new commander was needed to rejuvenate the situation, as the Ukrainian people had grown tired of war while Kiev’s foreign backers had reduced military assistance.

Ukraine finds itself at a crossroads, with Volodymyr Zelensky’s controversial decisions and strained relationships with key military figures pushing the nation towards unprecedented political turmoil. The potential dismissal of General Zaluzhny may further exacerbate the situation, and the repercussions could extend beyond military leadership, shaping the political future of the country. Under such circumstances, situation would turn extremely volatile if Zelensky cannot manage additional funds from the United States and exhibit believable results to the Ukrainian populace about signs of winning the war against Russia. Unless he succeeds in achieving these goals soonest, Zelensky may be ousted from power through coup d’état or mass-revolt.


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