(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in an interview broadcast on Sunday, said he was considering replacing several senior officials, and not just in the military, to determine who is to lead the country.
Speculation has gripped Ukraine over suggestions that the president is about to dismiss the commander of Ukraine’s military, Valery Zaluzhnyi. The two have been at odds over the conduct of the nearly two-year-old Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“It is a question of the people who are to lead Ukraine,” Zelenskiy told Italian state RAI television when asked about Zaluzhnyi. His comments were voiced over in Italian.
“A reset is necessary, I am talking about a replacement of a number of state leaders, not only in the army sector. I am reflecting on this replacement. Is a question for the entire leadership of the country.”
He said that to introduce the necessary changes, “I have in mind something serious that does not concern a single person but the direction of the country’s leadership”.
“If we want to win we must all push in the same direction, we cannot be discouraged, we must have the right and positive energy, negativity must be left at home. We can’t take on giving-up attitudes.”
Differences have come to the fore since a Ukrainian counteroffensive launched last year made only limited gains against Russian forces well dug in along the 1,000-km (600-mile) front line in Ukraine’s south and east.
Zaluzhnyi gave an interview to a Western media outlet in November in which he said the war had entered a new phase of attrition. That drew a rebuke from the president.
Last week as speculation over his dismissal intensified, he set out his case in a commentary for broadcaster CNN for new electronic means of warfare.
He also said some Ukrainian institutions were preventing the country from achieving its objectives, including efforts to build an effective fighting force to match Russian numerical superiority.
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro, Editing by Ron Popeski and Nick Zieminski and Diane Craft)