An ongoing rift between Zelenskyy and Zaluzhny has seen both leaders differ in their public descriptions of the future of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
An essay by Zaluzhny for the Economist offered cold realism regarding the war, in contrast to the optimism that permeates official messaging from Kyiv. The general made it clear that Russia is far from beaten, and warned: “A positional war is a prolonged one that carries enormous risks to Ukraine’s armed forces and to its state.”
People close to Zelenskyy, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told POLITICO that Zaluzhny’s essay left the president scrambling to reassure partners the war is not a dead end, and that it’s still worth helping Ukraine. Zelenskyy now wants his army to come up with a strategy that will encourage allies to keep the aid flowing.
Zaluzhny enjoys growing political popularity in Ukraine, and is seen as the only real competitor who could challenge Zelenskyy in a presidential election.
A recent poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found that more than 70 percent of Ukrainians would react negatively if Zelenskyy did fire the general.