Zelenskyy’s military command shakeup divides Ukrainians, but soldiers unfazed

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On Thursday, Zelenskyy appointed Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, to lead the army. 

He replaces Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who has been at the helm since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Syrskyi, 58, has since 2013 been involved in the Ukrainian army’s effort to adopt NATO standards.

It represents the most serious shakeup of the military leadership since the start of war, and followed days of speculation spurred by local media that Zelenskyy would sack Zaluzhnyi.

Some Ukrainians residing in the Donetsk region told Euronews that they hoped the change could make a real difference to Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which has stalled in recent months.

Other citizens, however, feared the move could prove counterproductive.

Euronews also spoke to military officials.

While they couldn’t make an official comment, many said it’s always a good thing to change leadership in the army at all levels.

But they highlighted the need for time to see the true results of the change.

Meanwhile, overnight, Russia and Ukraine exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war, in a deal mediated by the United Arab Emirates.

Zelenskyy said on social media platform X that his country had now freed 3,135 Ukrainians held captive in Russia.

“We always remember each and every Ukrainian in captivity,” he added. “We must free them all. We are working on this every day. I am grateful to everyone around the world, particularly the UAE, for facilitating such exchanges.”

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