Mounting Pressure on President Zelensky Amid Disagreements in Ukraine’s Military Leadership
In a comprehensive analysis by the Quincy Institute’s online magazine, ‘Responsible Statecraft,’ the pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seems to be intensifying as calls for a diplomatic approach to the conflict with Russia grow from both within and outside of Kiev.
A Stalemate in Eastern Europe’s Conflict?
On November 1, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told ‘The Economist’ that the conflict in Eastern Europe had reached a stalemate. Countering this, President Zelensky asserted to NBC News just five days later that the situation was far from a deadlock. “They thought they’d checkmate us, but that didn’t happen,” he said.
Yet, American analyst Ted Snider writes that the Ukrainian military’s stance does not coincide with that of the President, as some of Zelensky’s closest political advisers seemingly view his persistence on the battlefield as delusional. ‘Time’ magazine reports concerns among advisers that Ukraine’s belief in a final victory over Russia borders on messianic, with one senior advisor suggesting President Zelensky is kidding himself.
Contentions Within the Military Top Brass
The public censure of Zaluzhnyi following his statements perceived to be politically favorable to Moscow indicates a growing tension. The dismissal of Viktor Khorenko, the head of special operations forces, not only surprised him but also raised questions about Zaluzhnyi’s foreknowledge of the move, potentially undermining his authority. This action also caught US military officers by surprise, considering Khorenko’s success in long-range strikes and sabotage operations. The British news outlet ‘The Sunday Times’ had already anticipated this rift, pointing out Zaluzhnyi’s belief that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had run its course.
Zaluzhnyi sees the current situation as one of attrition, where typically one side benefits, in this case, possibly Russia. Despite Western sanctions, Russia seems to be increasing its armament production capabilities, while Ukraine faces a potential shortfall in missiles, munitions, and even arms, according to discussions.
Diplomatic Pressures Increasing
Citing NBC News, Snider observes that US and European officials have started discreet talks with the Kiev government on what potential peace negotiations with Russia could entail. These discussions imply a consensus that Ukraine might not achieve its battlefield goals and may need to make concessions. The convergence in the language used by both Western officials and Zaluzhnyi as well as Zelensky’s advisors indicates a significant shift towards diplomatic efforts.
In conclusion, it’s suggested that President Zelensky has only a few months left to pivot towards the diplomatic front and face the beginning of the conflict’s end.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Kiev’s counteroffensive failed, with Ukraine incurring over 90,000 losses since June. This statistic allegedly includes irreversible combat losses, over 550 tanks, and nearly 1,900 armored vehicles. Putin also expressed a sense of steady progress towards the objectives of Russia’s military operation launched in February 2022.
With the stakes higher than ever, the world watches closely as Ukraine navigates the battlegrounds and the complex channels of diplomacy.
Source: Sputnik Mundo