Sunday, 11 February 2024 04:53

What to know after Day 717 of Russia-Ukraine war

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Zelenskiy fills out rebooted Ukraine military team

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced five senior military appointments on Saturday, filling out a rebooted team after he named Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi this week as the new armed forces chief.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said he spent the day meeting his military leadership and government and that experienced "combat commanders of this war" would be taking on new duties. The country is closing in on two years of war since Russia's full-scale invasion.

As deputy chiefs of staff under Syrskyi, Colonel Vadym Sukharevskyi would take charge of unmanned systems and development of the use of drones by soldiers, while Colonel Andriy Lebedenko would focus on technological innovation of army and combat systems, Zelenskiy said.

Zelenskiy said he had also approved nominations of three brigadier generals as deputies of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - Volodymyr Horbatyuk, who would run operations and management, Oleksiy Shevchenko, in charge of logistics, and Mykhailo Drapatyi on training.

"We continue the reboot of the management team," Zelenskiy's Telegram channel quoted him as saying in the address.

Syrskyi, previously commander of ground forces, was promoted on Thursday to overall command of Ukraine's 800,000-strong armed forces. He later singled out drones and electronic warfare as examples of new technology that would help Ukraine achieve victory.

Ukraine has failed to recapture significant territory since late 2022 and faces a potential disruption in military aid supply from the United States, its biggest backer.



US doesn’t want talks – Kremlin

The US has not shown a readiness to negotiate with Russia and apparently lacks the “political will” to do so, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news outlet TASS on Saturday.

Peskov made the remarks when asked whether the interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to conservative American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this week will help communicate Moscow’s position on various issues to Washington. “The US authorities know our position very well, they are perfectly aware of all of Putin’s main points,” the spokesman stated.

However, the US has not demonstrated any readiness to actually engage in negotiations with Russia, according to Peskov.

“This is not an issue of knowledge, but an issue of desire. The desire to do something to get on to the track of negotiations. We have not yet seen such a desire or the political will for this [in the US],” Peskov emphasized.

Nevertheless, the Carlson interview provided a great opportunity for the Russian president to communicate his position to a wider audience in the West, according to Peskov.

“The main thing for us is that our president is heard. And should he be heard, that means more people will think about whether he is right or not. They will think, at least,” he stated when asked about the interest the interview has sparked.

The interview has elicited a “hysterical” reaction from the US authorities and mainstream media, who rushed to warn the public against watching it, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed.

“They’ve had a hysterical fit – the White House, the Department of State, all the mainstream media are shouting at the top of their lungs one thing only: don’t watch [the interview], and that an American journalist shouldn’t conduct such an interview,” Zakharova told Russia’s Izvestia newspaper on Friday, describing such reaction to the conversation as a “phenomenal”one.

The two-hour-long conversation, which largely revolved around relations between Moscow and Kiev and the ongoing conflict, garnered over 100 million views in just one day on Carlson’s X account (formerly Twitter) alone.

The interview, which was published on Thursday, was the first between the Russian president and a US journalist since the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022.



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