Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, has been told to tone down his public persona after rumors of tensions between him and President Vladimir Zelensky, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report stated that the chatter about a possible conflict has “swirled in recent months.”
“Both insist this is Russian disinformation intended to stoke tension within Kiev’s leadership. But people familiar with the situation said Zaluzhny had been asked to ease off on building his public profile,” the newspaper said.
Zaluzhny is among top Ukrainian officials who have received significant media attention in recent months, including an appearance on the cover of Time magazine in September. German newspaper Bild even described Zaluzhny in August as Zelensky’s potential successor.
News outlet RBK Ukraine reported in July about a conflict between the president and the general over the interpretation of martial law regulations. However, sources from Ukraine’s General Staff dismissed the tensions at the time. “Who wants the chief commander and the president to collide? It’s a big question for us as well. Only one side benefits from it: our enemy,” a source was quoted as saying.
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Ukrainian news website Telegraf quoted sources in August as saying that Zelensky’s office was planning to remove Zaluzhny from his post. However, Zelensky later rejected the reports, saying that he had no intentions of reassigning the general.
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