Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Thursday he is sacking two Ukrainian military generals for allegedly being “traitors.”
“Those servicemen among senior officers who have not decided where their homeland is, who violate the military oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people as regards the protection of our state, its freedom and independence, will inevitably be deprived of senior military ranks,” Zelenskyy said during his nighttime address to the nation posted on Telegram, according to the English translation included in the video.
Zelenskyy named the two individuals as Naumov Andriy Olehovych, ex-chief of the Main Department of International Security of the Security Service of Ukraine, and Kryvoruchko Serhiy Oleksandrovych, former head of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Kherson region.
The Ukrainian president did not spell out what actions prompted the generals’ dismissal, but pledged to root out any more “antiheroes” in the future.
“Now I do not have time to deal with all the traitors,” he said. “But gradually they will all be punished.”
Over recent months, Zelenskyy has taken steps to tighten his control in Ukraine and steer the country away from Russia. In early February, before the war, he decided to shut down three TV channels owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, an ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming they aired “propaganda.” Following the invasion, he declared martial law, which he recently extended until late April, and eliminated 11 political parties with ties to the Kremlin.
Russia’s defense minister told military officials Tuesday the country was now turning its attention to the “main goal — the liberation of Donbas,” according to The Associated Press .
“What we don’t believe is that [Putin’s] planning to send them home,” John Kirby, Pentagon’s press secretary told MSNBC on Thursday. “What we think he’s going to do is refit these troops, resupply them and put them back into Ukraine for offensive operations somewhere else.”
Young Russian men of draft age are also worried that Putin will send them to fight on the front lines in Ukraine as annual spring conscription is set to start Friday, despite officials ruling that out.
Jeremy Fleming, the head of British intelligence agency GCHQ, echoed U.S. intelligence warnings Thursday that Putin is “misinformed” on Russia’s military failings in Ukraine, adding that at one point the Russians accidentally shot down one of their own aircraft.
“Even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime,” Fleming said.