Zelenskiy appoints new medical forces chief in military shake-up
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has demanded rapid changes in the operations of Ukraine’s military and dismissed the commander of its medical forces. The Ukrainian president’s move was announced on Sunday as he met the defence minister, Rustem Umerov. The news coincided with debate over the progress of the 20-month-old war against Russia, with questions over how quickly a counteroffensive in the east and south is proceeding. “In today’s meeting with defence minister Umerov, priorities were set,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “There is little time left to wait for results. Quick action is needed for forthcoming changes.” Zelenskiy said he had replaced Maj Gen Tetiana Ostashchenko as commander of the medical forces. “As has been repeatedly stressed in society, particularly among combat medics, we need a fundamentally new level of medical support for our soldiers,” he said. This, he said, included digitalisation, better tourniquets and better communication. Umerov acknowledged the change on the Telegram messaging app and set digitalisation, “tactical medicine” and rotation of service personnel as top priorities. Last week, Ukraine said its troops had taken control of areas on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in southern Kherson region. The Ukrainian commander-inchief, Gen Valery Zaluzhny, in an essay published this month, said the war was entering a new stage of attrition and Ukraine needed more sophisticated technology to counter the Russian military. While saying advances will take time, Zelenskiy has denied the war is headed for a stalemate and has called on western partners, mainly the US, to maintain levels of military support. Ostashchenko was replaced by Maj Gen Anatoliy Kazmirchuk, the head of a military clinic in Kyiv. Also on Sunday, air defence units in Moscow intercepted a drone targeting the city, the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said. According to preliminary information, falling debris from the operation had caused no casualties or damage, he added.