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White House: 'Zelensky decides who will be in military leadership'

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 8, 2024 11:52 PM 2 min read
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Feb. 8 that the U.S. will continue supporting Ukraine and its military no matter who's in charge.

"President (Volodymyr) Zelensky is the commander-in-chief of his Armed Forces, he gets to decide who his leadership is going to be in the military, that's what civilian control (over the military) is all about," Kirby said.

"We'll work with whoever (Zelensky) has in charge of his military," he added.

Zelensky dismisses Chief Commander Zaluzhnyi, appoints Syrskyi in his place
President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and appointed General Oleksandr Syrskyi in his place.

Hours prior, Zelensky dismissed Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and appointed General Oleksandr Syrskyi in his place. Syrskyi is the former commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces.

"I appointed Colonel-General Syrskyi as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Zelensky said in a video address to the nation.

“He has successful defense experience - he conducted the Kyiv defense operation. He also has a successful offensive experience - the Kharkiv liberation operation,” Zelensky said about Syrskyi.

The presidential decrees finalizing the changes were published later in the day.

Zelensky also said in his video address that Generals Andrii Hnatov, Mykhailo Drapatyi, and Ihor Skybiuk, as well as Colonels Pavel Palisa and Vadym Sukharevskyi, are being considered for leadership positions in the army.

Moments prior, Zelensky published a Telegram post featuring him standing together with Zaluzhnyi.

"I met with General Zaluzhnyi, thanked him for two years of service," Zelensky said in the written statement.

The announcement follows multiple reports by Ukrainian and foreign media outlets, citing anonymous sources in the government, that Zelensky was set to fire the chief commander.

"We're not concerned about Ukrainian stability as a result of this," Kirby said.

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