White House Reacts to Dismissal of Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief

  • The White House on Thursday reacted to news that Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Valerii Zaluzhnyi from his post as commander-in-chief, opting to appoint Oleksandr Syrskyi. Ukrainska Pravda
  • Responding to questions from reporters at a White House briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Zelenskyy "gets to decide" the military leadership of his country. The White House
  • "That's what civilian control is all about," Kirby said. "We know that, and we'll work with whoever he has in charge of his military. We'll continue to work with our Ukrainian counterparts." The White House
  • Kirby was asked if this replacement posed any questions of instability in Ukraine. "We're not concerned about Ukrainian stability as a result of this," the spokesman said. The Kyiv Independent
  • He was further asked to comment on a Washington Post report stating that Zelenskyy gave advance notice of the dismissal to US Pres. Joe Biden. "White House officials did not support or object to the high-stakes decision, but acknowledged it as the president's sovereign choice," the publication reported. Nonetheless, it said this highlighted the influential role of the US. Washington Post (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • In response, Kirby said that if the question implied that the US was required to approve the decision in any way, that this was not true. "This is Pres. Zelenskyy's decision," he said. "There was no requirement for the Ukrainian government to run it by us." The White House

Pro-establishment narrative:

  • Zelenskyy is the sovereign leader of Ukraine. While the US appreciates him keeping Washington informed of his decisions, it was purely his to make and the US will continue to work closely with whomever he decides to have in his top leadership.

Establishment-critical narrative:

  • While the White House says this was solely Zelenskyy's decision to make, it nonetheless highlights the influence and power of the US on Ukrainian decisions. It's unimaginable that a leader of another country would have done the same.

Nerd narrative:

  • There is a 30% chance that Ukraine will join NATO before 2035, according to the Metaculus community prediction.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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