The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskydismissed this Thursday the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Valeri Zaluzhni, who will be replaced in office by the until now commander of the Land Forces, Oleksandr Sirski.
“I thank General Zaluzhni for the two years of protecting the country. “I am grateful for every victory we achieved together and thank you to all the Ukrainian soldiers who fight heroically in this war,” Zelensky said in a video posted on Telegram.
The president stressed that both spoke frankly about what needs to change in the Armed Forces, changes that he described as “urgent” when the battle front is practically stagnant.
Zelensky suggested to Zaluzhni, with whom he published a photograph in which both shake hands and the dismissed general makes the victory sign with his fingers, that “in the future he be on the Ukrainian State team.”
The dismissal occurs after days of speculation about this possibility and even information that Zelensky had already informed Zaluzhni two weeks ago, but that he had rejected another position.
Zaluzhni himself, who enjoys great popularity in Ukraine, even greater than the president himself, noted on his Telegram channel that he is “proud of all members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who protect the future of our children.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces claimed having shot down a Russian attack helicopter in eastern Ukrainenear the town of Avdiivka, where soldiers fight street to street as the Russian army intensifies its four-month campaign to encircle kyiv's defending troops.
A building damaged by falling debris from a downed Russian missile following an early morning missile attack in kyiv. Photo EFE
Ukrainian soldiers used a man-portable anti-aircraft missile to shoot down the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter, one of the Russian air force's deadliest weapons, according to Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of Ukrainian units fighting on the southeastern front line.
The contact line, about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), has barely moved during the past few months of winter weather. But as the war in Ukraine is approaching its second anniversary, Avdiivka has become “a priority target” for Moscow's forces, the UK Ministry of Defense said in an assessment on Thursday.
In the city there are street to street fighting while Ukrainian troops try to keep their main supply route open amid intense shelling, as reported by the Ministry on X, formerly Twitter.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces reported Thursday that its troops had repelled 40 enemy assaults around Avdiivka in the past 24 hours. This figure roughly doubles the number of daily Russian assaults elsewhere on the front line.
Russian newspaper Pravda reported Thursday that the Russian military was attempting to cut off a key logistics supply route to Ukraine in the village of Lastochkyne, about 6 kilometers (4 miles) west of Avdiivka.
The Russian army has used electronic warfare methods to disconnect the Starlink communications system that Ukrainian troops use to communicate, as reported by Pravda.