Ukrainian president sacks chief of armed forces, citing disputes
This content was published on July 27, 2021 – 18:18
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has sacked the chief of the armed forces, Ruslan Khomchak, his spokesman said at a briefing on Tuesday, citing tensions between the armed forces and the defense ministry.
Khomchak will be transferred to a post at the National Security and Defense Council. He will be replaced by Valery Zaluzhny, who heads the army’s northern command. Ukrainian troops have fought Russian-backed separatists in a conflict that Kiev says has claimed 14,000 lives since 2014.
“Commander-in-chief Ruslan Khomchak is leaving his post, it is the president’s decision,” Zelenskiy spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said during a briefing.
“The president wants to see a synergy between the Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian armed forces, but unfortunately we do not see any synergy, but on the contrary we see conflicts.”
Ukrainian media have reported in recent months disputes between the Defense Ministry and Khomchak. Khomchak denied any breakup in March: telling gordon.ua media:
“Here is a working relationship where everyone has their own opinion, they can argue, they can argue, they can get something done.”
Ukraine has urged its Western supporters to speed up its entry into the NATO military alliance to deter Russia, although NATO members say Kiev must reform its armed forces and fight corruption in order to be able to apply .
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Barbara Lewis)