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Zelensky to search for scapegoats over failed counteroffensive – Time

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is expected to launch a “major shake-up” of the country’s military and political leadership, Time magazine has reported, citing his aides.

The looming reshuffle is intended to demonstrate “accountability” for the lack of progress in the stalled counteroffensive against Russia, as well as deal with the apparently growing opposition to Zelensky’s desire to continue the hostilities no matter what.

  • Zelensky remains adamant in his desire to ‘defeat’ Russia on the battlefield, but his “stubbornness” has become borderline “messianic,” one of the president’s advisers said, on condition of anonymity.
  • “He deludes himself. We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”

The reality on the ground, however, is very different from Zelensky’s vision of scoring an ultimate victory over Moscow, and dissent is apparently growing. According to one of his aides, “some front-line commanders … have begun refusing orders to advance, even when they came directly from the office of the president.”

“They [the military] just want to sit in the trenches and hold the line. But we can’t win a war that way,” the aide said, admitting the troops were not actually “moving forward.”

In addition, the country is not very well-prepared for the upcoming winter, the aides suggested, adding that pinning failing infrastructure and other hardships exclusively on Russia might not work this time.

  • “Last year, people blamed the Russians,” one of them said.
  • “This time, they’ll blame us for not doing enough to prepare.”

To fix the situation, Zelensky is expected to launch a major reshuffle of his team shortly, with the “shake-up” affecting both military and civilian leadership.

“At least one minister would need to be fired, along with a senior general in charge of the counteroffensive,” the article suggested, citing the aides, who did not provide the exact names of the potential scapegoats. The move is primarily meant to create “accountability” for the lack of progress on the frontline, they said.

Kiev launched its counteroffensive against Russian forces in early June, but it has so far neglected to achieve any tangible results. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the counteroffensive had effectively failed, resulting in minor gains and heavy losses for the Ukrainian military.

According to Moscow’s estimates, the push cost Kiev more than 90,000 troops, as well as hundreds of military hardware, including assorted Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles.

Source: RT

UPdATE:

Zelensky’s chief of staff deletes link to scathing Time article – media

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, has backtracked after promoting a Time magazine article that portrayed the leader as being overly stubborn and unable to deal with corruption.

Yermak’s Telegram account initially shared a link to the 3,700-word Time report on Monday, describing it as “a very important article,” according to screenshots shared by Ukrainian and Russian journalists. As of Tuesday, the message was no longer available.

Some commentators have suggested that whoever posted the link had failed to read the article first, and had assumed it was complementary of Zelensky.

  • Having previously been praised by Western journalists amid the conflict with Russia, Zelensky was painted in a less complimentary light by Ukrainian insiders quoted by Time, who described an “angry” individual with a record of political missteps.

“Zelensky feels betrayed by his Western allies. They have left him without the means to win the war, only the means to survive it,” the report said of the president, citing a longtime member of his team.

“He deludes himself,” another Zelensky aide told the magazine. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”

  • The president’s “stubbornness” prevents his government from even considering a negotiated peace with Russia, according to the article. Instead, Zelensky orders the military to push forward, even though some frontline commanders refuse direct orders from his office, it added. Furthermore, Ukrainian armed forces lack weapons and manpower, with the latter undermined by sluggish conscription efforts.

The mood among the population in Ukraine could change in the winter, when people are likely to experience regular blackouts again, one source close to Zelensky told the outlet.

“Last year people blamed the Russians. This time they’ll blame us for not doing enough to prepare,” he predicted.

Yermak contributed to the story, claiming that Ukrainian officials are “not out here living the high life.” The remark was mentioned in the context of Zelensky’s apparent failure to address corruption, as suggested by another presidential confidante.

  • “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow,” a top presidential adviser told Time. It took Zelensky at least six months to fire then-Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov after the leader was alerted to graft in the department, although by that time “it was too late,” another source claimed. Western allies were “already aware” of a corruption scandal involving inflated procurement prices, as were frontline soldiers.

Source: RT