Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday replaced the country’s highest-ranking army general of the country in a national military shake-up.
Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi was relieved of his position and thanked by Zelenskyy for his service — the president said it was not indicative of poor performance but part of bigger refresh of the military.
“The time for such a renewal is now,” Zelenskyy said.
Zaluzhnyi, who remains highly popular with Ukrainian troops and civilians alike, was replaced as commander-in-chief by Сol. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi.
“A reset, a new beginning is necessary,” Zelenskyy said. He claimed the review is “not about a single person but about the direction of the country’s leadership.”
The changing of the guard comes close to the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion — a conflict not expected to last this long due to the drastically different military capabilities going into the war.
The duration of the war has stressed Ukraine’s manpower and left the pool of combatants shallow.
Citizens turned out in force at the start of the conflict, signing up in huge numbers that kept the fighting force strong. Stories recounted how even old women had signed up for military training to rebuff Russia’s invasion.
Going into the second year of the conflict, Kyiv hyped up its counteroffensive for the spring and summer, but the effort failed to produce the anticipated results, leading many to question the future of the conflict and resist further plans to fund and equip Ukraine without a clear end in sight for the conflict.
Despite the lack of manpower, the Ukrainian military has remained a difficult opponent to Russian invading forces — which has been suffering its own setbacks.
Last week, Ukrainian media touted a major victory over the Russian fleet with the publication of a video that allegedly showed the destruction of a nearly $70 million missile ship, the Ivanovets. Multiple drones hit the vessel and sank it, with the crew’s fate unknown.
“As a result of a number of direct hits to the hull, the Russian ship received damage that was incompatible with further movement – the Ivanovets tilted to the stern and sank,” said the Military Informant Telegram channel.
Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.