According to a recent article in the New York Times, there are increasing divisions within the Ukrainian leadership. The publication cited public criticism from President Vladimir Zelensky’s administration towards the country’s top military commander, Valery Zaluzhny. Zaluzhny stated last week that the conflict with Russia had reached a stalemate and that neither side was likely to make significant gains in the near future.
The New York Times article suggests that this public rebuke indicates an emerging rift between the military and civilian leadership in Ukraine, which comes at a challenging time for the country. Rumors of tensions between Zelensky and Zaluzhny have been circulating for over a year, but this scolding by presidential office deputy head Igor Zhovkva may be the first time that the divide between the two has been exposed.
Zaluzhny’s article for The Economist, which prompted the criticism, warned that the belligerents in the conflict were locked in a stalemate, drawing comparisons to World War I. He also predicted that the Ukrainian military would unlikely achieve a “deep and beautiful breakthrough” without more advanced weaponry from their supporters.
In response to Zaluzhny’s comments, Zhovkva criticized the general for speaking out to the press about the frontlines and potential developments, suggesting that such revelations play into Russia’s hands. Zhovkva also claimed to have received anxious phone calls from unidentified Western officials questioning whether Ukraine was truly at a dead end.
During a press conference on Saturday, Zelensky made it clear that he did not agree with the assessment that the conflict was at a stalemate. However, this public exchange between the military and civilian leadership comes amidst heavy casualties and only modest gains from the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in early June. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimates that Ukraine has lost up to 90,000 military personnel since the start of the offensive.
The Ukrainian leadership has acknowledged that the operation has not proceeded as smoothly as planned, with Zelensky suggesting that inadequate aid from the West has been a contributing factor. The article highlights the challenges faced by Ukraine as it strives to gain an upper hand in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
In conclusion, the New York Times article exposes growing divisions within the Ukrainian leadership. The public criticism of top military commander Valery Zaluzhny by President Zelensky’s administration reflects tensions that have been rumored for some time. The differing perspectives on the conflict’s progress and the need for more advanced weaponry highlight the challenges faced by Ukraine in its ongoing struggle with Russia.