In an opinion piece published by CNN on Feb. 1, Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi named three main areas of focus for Ukraine's military in 2024.
The piece was conducted before the rumours of his potential dismissal gained ground.
Zaluzhnyi stated that Ukraine's army needs to create a system to provide its forces with high-tech assets, introduce a new philosophy of training and warfare that accounts for restrictions in assets, and lastly, master new combat capabilities as soon as possible.
"Our goal must be to seize the moment – to maximize our accumulation of the latest combat capabilities, which will allow us to commit fewer resources to inflict maximum damage on the enemy, to end the aggression and protect Ukraine from it in the future," he wrote.
Zaluzhnyi also suggested that drones and unmanned systems, although not the only factor, "provide the best way for Ukraine to avoid being drawn into a positional war, where we do not possess the advantage."
Ukraine, in his view, must acknowledge Russia's significant advantage in mobilizing human resources and "the inability of state institutions in Ukraine to improve the manpower levels of our Armed Forces without the use of unpopular measures."
Additionally, Zaluzhnyi wrote that Ukraine's defense system faces ammunition production bottlenecks due to imperfections in the country's regulatory framework, as well as the partial mobilization of the defense industry.
This then furthers Ukraine's dependence on its allies for technological support.
Defense systems require constant improvement, as do countermeasures targeting Russia's use of new technology. The challenge for Ukraine's Armed Forces is to "create a completely new state system of technological rearmament."
Earlier this week, sources inside the Ukrainian government suggested that Zaluzhnyi may soon be dismissed. No official presidential decree has been published and Zaluzhnyi was still officially in the post as of Feb. 1. CNN reported that an official announcement of his dismissal is expected by the end of the week.
Ukrainian media, including the Kyiv Independent, have been trying to confirm the news about Ukraine's top commander's firing. The sources, all speaking on condition of anonymity, have been providing contradicting responses.
Zaluzhnyi served as Commander-in-Chief since July 2021. Reports first surfaced in November 2023 about disagreements between Zelensky and Zaluzhnyi.
The alleged disagreement between the two received increased attention following Zaluzhnyi's interview on the state of the war for The Economist on Nov. 1, in which he said there was a danger that Ukraine was walking into the trap of a prolonged war.
Zelensky said he disagreed with this sentiment during a briefing on Nov. 4.
Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda then reported on Dec. 4 that Zelensky was allegedly "bypassing" Zaluzhnyi in communication with some military commanders, citing anonymous sources.
President Zelensky said during a press conference on Dec. 19 that he has a "working relationship" with Zaluzhnyi, responding to a question about their alleged dispute.