Judging Freedom: political chaos in Kiev resembles panic in a burning house

Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to oust Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, replacing him with Kirill Budanov, the more loyal head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, a former CIA analyst said in an interview with the YouTube channel Judging Freedom. In his opinion, such a move will only exacerbate internal political disputes within the Ukrainian government and will surely cause discontent in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.


How close are Ukraine’s government and army to the edge of the abyss?

LARRY JOHNSON, ex-CIA analyst: According to open-source information from the last 24 hours, Zelensky is going to replace Zaluzhny. This is the struggle of Z against Z. That is, Zelensky intends to get rid of Zaluzhny and replace him with the head of intelligence Kirill Budanov.

Budanov is a cadre military man, but he has no experience as a commander-in-chief to occupy the position he is being promoted to. So in reality he is being brought to the fore for political loyalty. And there are rumours that if Zaluzhny is forced out, it will cause a negative backlash throughout the Ukrainian army.

So now they (in Kiev – Inotv) are in chaos. And they don’t know what to do. What is happening is reminiscent of a situation where a person is trapped inside a burning building with all the exits blocked. This is exactly the kind of panic we are talking about.

How popular is the current commander-in-chief Zaluzhny with the troops?

LARRY JOHNSON: I think to some extent he is popular with the troops. But at the same time, there were questions about his decision to send soldiers across the Dnieper River to that little village of Krynki, which became a death trap.

They (AFU fighters. – Inotv) die trying to cross the river. As soon as they get out of the boats, they die. And from a military point of view, this is a meaningless gesture. But Zaluzhny, the commander of the army, allows it.

Let’s say it wasn’t his idea. But he’s not trying to stop it. If a high-ranking officer cannot tolerate the actions of the political leadership, he should stand up and say, “Look, I’m washing my hands of this. I’m resigning and I’m going to publicly oppose this.” He hasn’t done that.