The relationship between Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and his most important general is said to have cracked. According to a media report, Commander-in-Chief Zalushny pleaded for the evacuation of the embattled town of Bakhmut weeks ago. Apparently, there is a completely different opinion in Kiev.
According to a media report, a dispute broke out between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, General Valery Saluschnyy. As the "Bild" newspaper reports, the two had different views on how the Ukrainian army should behave in Bakhmut. The city in the Donetsk region has been under Russian attacks for months. Zelenskyi declared Bakhmut a "fortress" during a visit in December. Despite fierce resistance, Moscow's troops have recently gained ground. Meanwhile, the city's defenders are threatened with encirclement.
According to the "Bild" newspaper, Zalushny recommended several weeks ago that the government should consider withdrawing troops from Bakhmut. However, circles in Kiev told the newspaper that sticking to Bakhmut was the right decision. This has caused considerable damage to the Russian army, both in terms of personnel and material, so the argument goes.
However, Zelenskyy and Zalushnyy are no longer just about military issues. The general is enjoying growing popularity among the population, and some are already considering him the next presidential candidate. Selenskyj's environment should therefore see a possible rival in Salushnyj.
Experts and members of the Ukrainian armed forces interviewed by "Bild" are said to share the majority of Zalushny's assessment of the battle for Bakhmut. A Ukrainian military advisor told the paper: "In the beginning, Bakhmut was a trap for the Russians, now it has become a trap for us. We kill them at a ratio of 1:7 - that's the only military reason to hold Bakhmut. But the troops should have been withdrawn three weeks ago when the Russians took Krasnaya Gora. The decision to hold Bakhmut was a good one, but they overdid it."