Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday appointed commander of the ground forces Oleksandr Syrsky as the country's new army chief, in a dramatic military shakeup nearly two years into Russia's invasion.
"Starting today, a new management team will take over the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Zelensky said. "I appointed Colonel-General Syrsky as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."
In a post on X, Zelensky earlier thanked General Valerii Zaluzhnyi for his two years of service as commander-in-chief and discussed possible replacements for the top military job. “The time for such a renewal is now," Zelensky said.
The statement followed days of speculation spurred by local media reports that Zelensky would sack Zaluzhnyi, a move that would amount to the most serious shakeup of the top military brass since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces claimed to have shot down a Russian attack helicopter in eastern Ukraine near the city of Avdiivka, where soldiers are fighting from street to street as Russia's army steps up its four-month campaign to surround Kyiv’s defending troops.
Ukrainian soldiers used a portable anti-aircraft missile to take down the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter, one of the Russian air force’s deadliest weapons, according to Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of Ukrainian units fighting on the southeastern front line.
Read more on FRANCE 24 English
Russian air strikes target Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, killing at least five
Death toll from strike on bakery in occupied Ukraine rises to more than 20, Russia says
Ukraine uncovers attempt to embezzle $40 million via bogus arms deal