Eduard Moskalyov, formerly the commander of the joint forces of Ukraine, was relieved of duty this week, meaning he will no longer oversee the bitter fighting ongoing in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
The move was only made public on the Ukrainian president’s official website, with a single-line decree revealing that he had been removed from his position.
Moskalyov was in the role for less than a year, having been appointed to the role in March of last year.
Ukraine Update: Is Zelenskyy Planning A New Counter-Offensive?
As recently as Friday, Zelenskyy had mentioned Moskalyov has one of several Ukrainian military commanders that he has been in contact with to discuss the next steps for the war.
The sudden announcement could be a result of those conversations and could perhaps suggest that Zelenskyy – like the Kremlin – is looking to new military commanders who may have fresh ideas about how to make the next counter-offensive an even bigger success than the last one.
The possibility of a major disagreement between the president and Moskalyov cannot be ruled out, however, especially given that the Joint Forces and other Ukrainian military bodies did not announce the move on their social media despite using both Facebook and Twitter to announce all progress made in the war daily.
Russia Is Expecting A Counter-Offensive
If Zelenskyy is planning a counter-offensive under new leadership, it would explain why Russian officials suddenly decided to flee Kherson Oblast in recent days.
The “annexed” region of Ukraine saw Kremlin-installed officials leave the region in just the last few days, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, over fears of Ukrainian forces making advances into the region.
According to the General Staff, Moscow officials left Skadovsk and Oleshka, two cities in Kherson Oblast. The Russian officials reportedly left for Crimea.
Outside of Kherson, the battle for Bakhmut continues to heat up, with Russian forces intensifying attacks on Ukrainian positions in and around the city as the Kremlin looks to take control of the city at all costs.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.