Zelensky Unhappy at Govt Officials Not Working Hard Enough in Wartime

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signaled Wednesday that he is getting tough on officials he suspects are shirking their duties in the war with Russia that is now in its third year.

Zelenskyy and Commander in Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi visited troops in the eastern Donetsk region who have weathered fierce Russian ground and air assaults in recent months. They also discussed with local officials the drinking water supply, social issues, evacuation plans and the rebuilding of local homes, Zelenskyy said.

He added that back in Kyiv he would speak to “officials who must be here and in other areas near the front line – in difficult communities where people need immediate solutions.”

“I was surprised to learn that some relevant officials have not been here for six months or more,” Zelenskyy said. “There will be a serious conversation, and I will draw appropriate conclusions regarding them.”

Zelenskyy has frequently visited front-line areas during the war.

His said his trip to the Donetsk region was to introduce the new commander of the Joint Forces Command, Andrii Hnatov.

Hnatov replaced Yurii Sodol, who had held the position since February 2023.

Zelenskyy didn´t give a reason for the change, but it came after the widely admired chief of staff of the Azov regiment, Bohdan Krotevych, released a statement rebuking an unnamed general for having “killed more Ukrainian soldiers than any Russian general,” in what was seen as a reference to incompetent management of troops.

Several Ukrainian media outlets, quoting unidentified sources in the armed forces, said he was referring to Sodol.

Ahead of Zelenskyy´s visit, Russian forces dropped a powerful glide bomb on the Donetsk city of Selydove, causing extensive damage to 37 homes, six multi-story buildings and administrative infrastructure, regional authorities said Wednesday. They reported no injuries.

Over the previous 24 hours, the Russian military shelled 20 Donetsk region settlements, killing one person and injuring at least nine, regional head Vadym Filashkin said.

About 250 people have been evacuated from their homes in the Donetsk region since Tuesday, officials said.