Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, has been ordered to tone down his public image after rumors of tensions between him and President Vladimir Zelensky, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report says chatter about a possible conflict has “twirled in recent months.”
“Both insist that this is Russian disinformation intended to stir up tensions within the Kyiv leadership. But people familiar with the situation said Zaluzhny was asked to relax in building his public profile,” says the newspaper.
Zaluzhny is among senior 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 a potential successor to Zelensky.
The media RBC Ukraine reported in July on a dispute between the president and the general over the interpretation of martial law regulations. However, Ukrainian General Staff sources dismissed the tensions at the time. “Who wants the Commander-in-Chief and the President to collide? This is a big question for us too. Only one side benefits: our enemy.” a source was quoted as saying.
With media speculating about plots to oust Zelensky, how safe is the Western-backed Ukrainian leader?
Ukrainian news site Telegraf quoted sources in August as saying Zelensky’s office planned to remove Zaluzhny from his post. However, Zelensky later dismissed the reports, saying he had no intention of reassigning the general.
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