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Zelensky fires Medical Forces commander, announces replacement

by Dominic Culverwell November 19, 2023 11:28 PM 2 min read
A volunteer medic from the First Volunteer Mobile Hospital (PDMSh) evacuates a wounded Ukrainian soldier from a stabilizing mobile hospital in the vicinity of Bakhmut, Donetsk region on Nov. 28, 2022. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Medical Forces commander Tetyana Ostashchenko on Nov. 19 amid repeated calls from medics and volunteers to fire the official, replacing her with Anatoly Kazmirchuk, the president announced in his evening address.

Up until now, Kazmirchuk headed the National Military Medical Clinical Center in Kyiv.

The announcement follows news on Nov. 13 that Defense Minister Rustem Umerov was preparing requests to dismiss Ostashchenko, as well as Commander of the southern Tavria Group Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, and Joint Forces Commander Serhii Naiev.

Following the news, the Defense Ministry issued a “response to all media inquiries” saying that “information published by a number of media outlets is not true.” However, the ministry did not specify which reports it was reacting to.

Ostashchenko was reportedly dismissed from her position after repeated requests from Ukrainian paramedics and volunteers. In July, lawmaker Solomiia Bobrovska said that the Medical Forces Command had not purchased any first aid kits in 2023, and those provided through international aid were not properly checked.

"We need a fundamentally new level of medical support for our soldiers," Zelensky said.

"From high-quality tourniquets to full digitalization and transparency in supply, from high-quality training to sincere communication with combat medics in those units where medicine is deployed correctly and effectively."

Umerov commented on the decision to dismiss Ostashchenko as "obvious" to those fighting and helping Ukraine's Armed Forces.

In a Facebook post, Umerov listed three major requirements of the Medical Forces going forward, including digitizing medical standard compliance, tactical medicine training in accordance with NATO standards, and ensuring constant rotation of personnel.

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