By David Sole
It finally happened. Ukraine’s President Zelensky fired the commander of the Ukraine military, General Zaluzhny, on February 9. He was replaced by General Syrsky, another high ranking Ukrainian military figure. Zelensky also announced the promotion of five other generals.
For several weeks there were reports afloat that a major shakeup was coming. The Biden administration even had to send Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to Kiev on January 31 to handle the crisis in the Ukrainian puppet government. She was soon followed by Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, who, of course, had to say that this “is not something the U.S. government should be weighing in on one way or another ” while he and Nuland orchestrated the change of leadership.
This “switching of horses” is a major event, especially coming amid intense combat. It comes as Ukraine is reeling from heavy losses in its “Spring Offensive” that gained none of its stated goals. Ukraine admits it is short of troops to replace the tens of thousands killed or wounded along with enormous losses in western supplied heavy weaponry.
Now, all across the long battle front with the opposing Russian Federation forces, Ukrainian troops are under intense pressure. Their stronghold of Adveyevka, near Russian held Donetsk City, is facing collapse, endangering thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who are being cut off from supplies and reinforcements and are running low on ammunition. Avdeyevka has been in the hands of the Ukrainian military since the 2014 right-wing coup that the U.S. engineered in Kiev.
Elsewhere on the front lines the Ukrainians are hard pressed by the better led and better armed Russians. Another demoralizing factor is the deadlock in Washington, where critical arms shipments to Ukraine have failed to win Congressional approval.
A gloomy February 9 article in the New York Times, a strong supporter and promoter of the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine, reports “Russian forces are razing the already battered city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine to the ground.” “Ukrainian troops are exhausted, and they lack weapons and ammunition. Air defense systems … are being steadily exhausted by repeated bombardments.” The Times warns “a cascading collapse along the front is a real possibility later this year.”
It is unlikely that this change of commander can reverse the fundamental problems for the Ukrainians. Pushed into the war with Russia, which was a goal of the neocon section of the U.S. ruling class, there is no talk of negotiations for Ukraine. U.S. leaders care little about the slaughter of their puppets. So Ukraine is considering a massive mobilization to fill the ranks of its armies even though it risks public resistance to such a continuation and expansion of the Ukrainian losses.
A danger in all of this is that the U.S. and its NATO allies, unwilling to allow negotiations, will more directly intervene militarily to stave off the predicted collapse of their Ukrainian clients. Where such escalation would lead is frightening to imagine.