Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Gen. Valerii Zalushnyi after the dismissal of the latter as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, February 8, 1984

VideoCast Special: Why Ukraine Matters

EA on Monocle Radio: The Disintegrating Republican Party Sacrifices Ukraine to Putin

Thursday’s Coverage: Senate Republicans Block US Aid to Kyiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Pending Parliamentary approval, the Norwegian Government will send more short- to medium-range ground-based air defense systems to Ukraine.


President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has awarded the Hero of Ukraine honor to Gen. Valerii Zalushnyi, the departing commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military.


Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister and current member of the European Parliament, has cogently summarized the “interview” of Vladimir Putin by American hard-right demagogue Tucker Carlson.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said:

We saw nothing new in Putin’s interview,” said a foreign affairs spokesperson on Thursday.

We regret that Putin was actually provided a platform to manipulate and spread the propaganda. Putin reinforced his well-known lies about Ukraine. These are dangerous lies.

Ville Cantell, a director at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign affairs, offers a constructive suggestion.


Images of some of the 100 Ukrainian POWs freed in an exchange with Russia on Thursday:


A drone has attacked the Ilsky oil refinery in the Krasnodar region in southwest Russia, setting it ablaze.

The strike is the eighth on a refinery inside Russia in the past month.

Krasnodar officials say the fire was extinguished in an hour, and there were no casualties.

The Ukrainian military, which has claimed the previous seven strikes, has not taken responsibility. The Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment this morning.

Russia’s gasoline exports fell by 37% and diesel by 23% in January. The Russian Enggy Ministry of Energy blamed “unscheduled repairs” and the needs of the domestic market.


Ukraine’s air defenses downed 10 of 16 Iran-made drones launched by Russia overnight.

The UAVs were sent from Russian-occupied Crimea and Russia’s Kursk area. They were intercepted over the Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Kharkiv regions.

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said drones damaged several residential buildings, a three-story building of a recreation center, and a canteen. First responders put out fires caused by the attack in a hotel building and a restaurant’s summer terrace.

One civilian was injured and was treated by the medics at the spot.


In an abrupt shift, the US Senate has advanced a bill authorizing $60.1 billion in essential aid for Ukraine, as well as assistance for Israel.

On Wednesday, Republicans blocked a $118 billion package including the aid and $20 billion for enforcement measures on the US-Mexico border. The vote appeared to doom four months of bipartisan effort to overcome the obstacles set by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans.

But on Thursday, the Senate voted 67 to 32 to begin consideration of the $95 billion emergency aid bill, with several Republicans who objected to the broader border package now agreeing to open debate on a foreign policy-only version.

“Failure to pass this bill would only embolden autocrats like [Vladimir] Putin and Xi [Jinping], who want nothing more than America’s decline,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after the vote. “We are going to keep working on this bill until the job is done.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: As expected, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dismissed Kyiv’s top military commander Gen. Valerii Zalushnyi.

The move was confirmed just after a meeting between the two men on Thursday. Zelenskiy posted a summary and photograph, showing himself shaking hands with the general. Zalushnyi, commander-in-chief since July 2021, flashed a V for Victory gesture.

Zelenskiy later announced the appointment of Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s land forces, as the new commander-in-chief.

The President posted, “I proposed to General Zaluzhnyi to remain part of the team,” but there has been no confirmation if Zalushnyi accepted another post.

The general, posting on Telegram, accepted that “everyone must change and adapt to new realities” and agreed there was a “need to change approaches and strategy” in the war.

In an eight-minute video, Zelenskiy pushed away rumors that the general was being fired because he was a potential political rival. In a December survey by the Kyiv International Institute for Sociology, 88% of Ukrainians said they trusted Zaluzhnyi, compared with 62% for Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy summarized:

This is not about names, and even more so, not about politics. This is about the system of our army, about the management in the armed forces and about involving the direct experiences of military commanders in this war.

Reports circulated on January 29 that Zelenskyi had asked Zaluzhnyi to step down, offering him a position such as a defense advisor, Secretary of the National Security Council, or an ambassador to a European country. The general supposedly said no and refused to write a resignation letter.

On Sunday, in an interview with Italian State TV, Zelenskiy indicated that he intended to complete the dismissal, “It is a question of the people who are to lead Ukraine. A reset is necessary, I am talking about a replacement of a number of state leaders, not only in the army sector.”

He said that for Ukraine to defeat the 23-month Russian invasion, “we must all push in the same direction, we cannot be discouraged, we must have the right and positive energy, negativity must be left at home”.

Zalushnyi unsettled the President’s office with an essay last November in which he acknowledged disappointing results from Ukraine’s counter-offensive and spoke of a “stalemate”.

Differences have escalated with the commander’s pursuit of mass mobilization, which is opposed by Zelenskiy.

The President said on Thursday that the new commander-in-chief must devise a “new approach to mobilization” as troops at the front complain of depleted ranks and a lack of equipment.

Zelenskiy Announces New POW Exchange

Zelenskiy also announced another exchange of POWs with Russia, with 100 Ukrainians returning home.

He thanked the UAE for brokering the release and said, “We always remember each and every Ukrainian in captivity. We must free them all. We are working on this every day.