The Ukrainian government has informed the White House that it plans to fire the country’s top military commander overseeing the war against Russian occupation forces, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The decision to fire Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, who has clashed with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy over military strategy and other issues, comes after a Ukrainian counteroffensive last year that failed to regain a significant amount of Russian-controlled territory.
A source close to Zelenskiy’s office said the two also disagreed over a new military mobilization campaign, with the president opposing Zaluzhnyi’s proposal to call up 500,000 new troops.
The source, however, added that the process to remove Zaluzhnyi from his post as commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces was stalled for now while authorities considered who his replacement should be.
A second source familiar with the matter said the White House has not expressed a position one way or the other on the plan to replace Zaluzhnyi.
“I would like to emphasize that the White House’s response was that we neither supported nor opposed their sovereign decision,” said the source, who requested anonymity.
“The White House has expressed that it is up to Ukraine to make its own sovereign decisions regarding its personnel,” the source added.
The Washington Post was first to report that Ukraine had informed the White House of the plan to fire Zaluzhnyi.
U.S. officials told Ukraine they did not oppose firing Zaluzhnyi, the source close to the Ukrainian president’s office said.
“The US doesn’t care if Ukraine fires him,” the source said.
There were no details on the plan’s timeline. “Right now, both sides (the president and the general) have paused to determine what the future will look like, and for now, the status quo will remain until further notice,” the source said.
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