Zelensky replaces the commander-in-chief of the army
On July 27, President Volodymyr Zelensky sacked Ruslan Khomchak from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, appointing Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny on the same day.
This is according to Serhiy Nykyforov, the press secretary of the Ukrainian president, who spoke at a briefing in Kiev on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
“The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Ruslan Khomchak, is stepping down. It is the decision of the president. Volodymyr Zelensky has no doubts about Ruslan Khomchak’s patriotism, his loyalty to his oath and his professionalism, but the president wants to see a synergy between the Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Armed Forces, “said the spokesman.
Nykyforov added that, unfortunately, such synergy is nowhere to be found, unlike conflicts.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, on March 28, 2020, Zelensky appointed Khomchak Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Previously, since May 2019, Khomchak was Chief of the General Staff Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Ruslan Khomchak was appointed first deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, replacing Mykhailo Koval who was dismissed from his post.
Also during the briefing, Nykyforov said President Zelensky appointed Valeriy Zaluzhny as the new commander-in-chief of the armed forces, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
“The president is grateful to Ruslan Khomchak for his services, but Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander of the operational command of Pivnich (north ed.), Has been appointed commander-in-chief,” Nykyforov said.
A statement published on the president’s official website on July 27 quoted Zelensky as saying that “the defense sphere must function regularly, in a coordinated manner, with a clear perspective and without misunderstandings among the leaders.”
In recent months, Ukrainian media have claimed that disputes between Ruslan Khomchak and Defense Minister Andriy Taran led to the two senior military officials completely severing their personal communications.
The move to replace the army’s commander-in-chief comes part of what appears to be Zelensky’s continued sweeping in the security and defense sector amid recent reshuffles of the SBU Security Service and SZRU Foreign Intelligence.
- In December 2019, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny (46) was appointed commander of the operational command of Pivnich (north – ed.). He previously held the positions of Chief of Joint Operational Staff of the Armed Forces, First Deputy Commander of Joint Forces (2018), and Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander of Zakhid Operational Command (West – ed. .) (2017). In addition, he led the 51st Separate Mechanized Brigade (2009-2012) and the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade (2007-2009).
- Zaluzhny was born in the city of Novohrad-Volynsky, Zhytomyr region, on July 8, 1973.
- In 1997 he graduated with honors from the General Military Faculty of the Unified Higher Command in Odessa.
- In 2007, he was awarded a gold medal from the National Defense Academy.
- Zaluzhny was promoted to Major General on August 23, 2017.