Volodymyr Zelenskiy has fired Ukraine’s military commander-in-chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi – thanking him for his service but outlining the need for “renewal” in the armed forces. Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal has been a much-discussed topic in Ukraine and internationally for more than a week, after it emerged the president had asked him to resign.
Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi is to replace Zaluzhnyi, moving up from commander of land forces. Syrskyi led the successful defence of Kyiv early in the war, and was credited with planning and executing a successful counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region later in 2022.
The US Senate on Thursday advanced a wartime aid package for Ukraine and Israel, reviving an effort that had stalled amid Republican opposition to a more comprehensive bill they demanded and later abandoned. A day after blocking a measure that would have paired harsh new border restrictions with security assistance for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies, the Senate on Thursday voted 67 to 32 to begin consideration of the $95bn emergency aid bill.
Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, had earlier poured scorn on US Senate Republicans, writing that “Ronald Reagan, who helped millions of us to win back our freedom and independence, must be turning in his grave today. Shame on you.” Senior European officials said Tusk’s rhetoric echoed concerns in the region.
Ending aid to Ukraine would mark a rupture of US leadership and a fracturing of Nato, the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has warned. She was speaking in New York at a gathering to map out Ukraine’s future after two years at war. “How we respond or fail to respond will immeasurably affect the state of the 21st century global order,” Clinton said.
The chief of the US national guard has said the US is still able to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets despite the military running out of funds to send additional weapons and assistance to Kyiv.
Ecuador is weighing up sending its old Russian military equipment to the US so that it can be transferred to Ukraine. The plan is for Ecuador to send six Russian military helicopters, long-range rocket launchers and air defence systems to the US. In exchange, Ecuador will receive modern weapons to confront drug gangs.
Vladimir Putin said in an interview released on Thursday that Russia will fight for its interests but has no interest in expanding its war in Ukraine to other countries such as Poland and Latvia. Putin made the comment in a more than two-hour interview with Tucker Carlson, his first with an American interviewer since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin spoke in Russian and his remarks were dubbed into English.
Putin spent more than 30 minutes giving a history of Russia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, in a monologue that took viewers from the ninth-century rule of Oleg the Wise, to the struggles of the 1300s, through to a critique of Lenin’s foreign policy. When a baffled-looking Carlson finally coaxed Putin into the 21st century, the Russian president accused the US and other western countries of prolonging the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine and Russia on Thursday swapped 100 prisoners of war each. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said most of the men had defended the port city of Mariupol, which Russia captured after a brutal battle in 2022.
The US treasury has put sanctions on three entities based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one registered in Liberia for violating a cap placed on the price of Russian oil by a coalition of western countries. The treasury also said it had taken steps to bar the import of certain categories of diamonds mined in Russia.