A Ukrainian MP has launched a scathing attack on Ukraine’s military leadership, making a number of accusations and calling for a change in the country’s top brass.
Mariana Bezuhla, a Member of Parliament from Zelensky's own Servant of the People party and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence demanded the country’s military leadership “must leave” as it has failed to present any comprehensive “war plan” for 2024, and had left budget planning in disarray.
“What's the plan for the war? Why make new brigades instead of strengthening the existing ones? How much will it cost to create a new brigade? And what about funds for things like rotation, demobilization, and training?” she wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday, Nov. 26.
In addition, she slammed the military leadership for only proposing an increased mobilization without substantive organizational changes to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
“Now the situation is such that if the military leadership cannot provide any plan for 2024, and all their proposals for mobilization boil down to the fact that more people are needed. Without any proposal to change the AFU system, then such leadership should leave,” the MP said.
Following her initial statement, Bezuhla continued her criticisms on Monday, specifically targeting head of the armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny.
She accused him of arguing about border landmines with General Mark Milli, the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in 2021 and dismissing the need for drones during a committee hearing.
She not only targeted Zaluzhny but also slammed the former Defense Minister, Oleksiy Reznikov for blindly approving military proposals without evaluating how well they work.
Following on from these statements, Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda sought clarification from the spokesperson of the Servant of the People party on whether Bezuhla's statements represented the faction’s official stance.
The party's spokesperson, Yulia Paliychuk, said: “Ask Bezuhla. She is her own press service and is responsible for her own words.”
Following the deputy's statements, colleagues in parliament sought to remove Bezuhla from a position as head of a subcommittee within the National Security, Defense, and Intelligence Committee. People's Deputy Iryna Friz, a member of former president Petro Poroshenko's European Solidarity party, political rivals of Servant of the People, reported on Facebook that the committee will address this issue on Tuesday.
“These posts, which sow seeds of discord in society and erode confidence in the military leadership during a state of martial law, prompted our party to propose her removal from the subcommittee's leadership,” Friz stated.
She stressed the need to preserve military credibility in times of war, urging politicians to refrain from publicly discrediting the armed forces.
Since the large-scale invasion began, Russia has been pushing a narrative claiming there was conflict between Ukraine's political and military leadership. This misinformation is sometimes reinforced by internal groups within Ukraine.
On Nov. 7, lawmaker Volodymyr Aryev from Poroshenko's party first stated that the Defense Minsiter had submitted a request to dismiss the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, he later deleted this message and issued a denial.
Russian propaganda and some Ukrainian sources then readily promulgated the message along with a deepfake post about Zaluzhny on the Russian Telegram channel Radio Trukha on the same day.
The faked video suggested that Zelensky had eliminated Zaluzhny’s assistant, and then would kill him too, before handing Ukraine over to Putin. It accused Zelensky of causing failure of the counteroffensive. Ukrainians were urged to go to the Maidan to protest, while it called upon the military to abandon their positions and march on Kyiv.
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