Valerii Zaluzhnyi No Longer Heads the AFU

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Volodymyr Zelensky replaced the leadership of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and called for “urgent” transformations in the army. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who had previously commanded the Ground Forces, succeeded Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Volodymyr Zelensky announced the appointment of Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Previously, he had headed the Ground Forces. “2024 can be successful for Ukraine only if we make effective changes in the core of our defense, which is the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the President claimed. Earlier, the head of state met with Valerii Zaluzhnyi and thanked him for his service: “I am grateful to General Zaluzhnyi for two years of defense. I am grateful for every victory we have won together, and I am grateful to all Ukrainian soldiers who heroically endure this war. Today we had a frank conversation about what changes are necessary to the army. Urgent changes. I proposed to General Zaluzhnyi to continue to work as part of the Ukrainian state team. I would be grateful for his consent. As of today, a new leadership is taking over the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I want our soldiers in Robotino or Avdiivka, the General Staff and the Commander-in-Chief to have the same vision of the war.” The former commander-in-chief stated that the tasks of the beginning of the war are different from those of the current stage, adding that “everyone must adapt to the new conditions in order to win.” One of the reasons for Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal is the failure of the 2023 summer counter-offensive. “This decision was taken in order to reconsider the tactics that did not yield the expected results last year and to prevent stagnation on the front, which negatively affects society morale,” explained Mykhailo Podolyak, an Adviser to the Head of the Office of President. The Ukrainian leader called the new commander “the most experienced general in Ukraine.” Syrskyi commanded the defense of Kyiv at the outbreak of the Russian invasion almost two years ago and then the counter-offensive in the autumn of 2022, which resulted in the liberation of hundreds of settlements in Kharkiv oblast.