The clash between Zelensky and Zaluzhnyi over war-torn Ukraine changes little

(To Philip Del Monte)

Those who know a little about history will not escape the fact that during wars, at a certain point, regardless of how the conflict evolves, conflicts between politicians and the military always emerge. For Italy, a striking case of this type was during the 1915-1918 war the clash between the chief of general staff, Luigi Cadorna, and the Salandra, Boselli and Orlando governments, in particular with the Foreign Minister, Sidney Sonnino , who was the political-diplomatic "mind" of that conflict, just as the Piedmontese general was the operational-military one.

This historical comparison is necessary to say that the frictions between political leadership and military leadership of a country at war are physiological. In Ukraine the differences in the approach to the war against Russia between the president, Volodymir Zelensky, and the commander in chief of the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine, ed.), Valerii Zaluzhnyi (photo), had emerged since the final stages of the battle of Bakhmut. In fact, while the general would have liked the Ukrainian troops to retreat to the southwestern outskirts of the Donbass city, the head of state had insisted on an all-out defense of the city center. A difference of views between the two which also emerged in the preparatory phase of the Ukrainians' summer counter-offensive, which today ran aground a few kilometers beyond the first Russian trenches of the Surovikin Line and which, instead, had as its objective the reaching and forcing of the "corridor of Crimea” in Melitopol.

This while the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, underlined that Russian forces are carrying out simultaneous offensive actions in different directions and in particular trying to regain the initiative north and south of Bakhmut.

A few days ago Zaluzhnyi admitted that the conflict is now turning into a "war of position" and also published a document in this regard, where he expresses some considerations on how to get out of the impasse and regain the initiative of the maneuver.

Anyone who has read Zaluzhnyi's document will certainly have noticed that, both in the premises and in the analysis of the logistical-industrial aspect, the general puts forward theses that are, if not opposite, at least more radical than those of Zelensky. In fact, he identifies military force as the only instrument capable of guaranteeing Kyiv its territorial sovereignty and independence, launching serious accusations against international organizations. Although Zaluzhnyi repeats that NATO support is fundamental, he does not hesitate to reiterate the need for Ukraine, especially as regards the AD & S industry and, therefore, the delicate issue of military supply chains, “do it yourself”, relying only partially on the West.

Zelensky did not appreciate Zaluzhnyi's ideas. This is evident because the president has declared that every time we talk about "freezing" the war we are doing Putin a favor. In fact, strange as it may seem, the first supporters of a more radical conduct of the war by the Ukrainian side are precisely those who admit the difficulties of the AFU. And Zaluzhnyi is one of them.

Gas pipeline sabotage North Stream, for which the responsibility of Ukraine - or rather, of a part of Kyiv's military apparatus - falls precisely within the logic of the "total war" to be waged against Russia. It is not surprising that the action of the currently detained Colonel of the Special Operations Forces-SSO Roman Chervinsky, considered the material perpetrator of the sabotage, was not only known to Zaluzhnyi, but was also authorized by him.

The sabotage of the gas pipeline was carried out by a team of six SSO men who, having rented a sailing boat with false documents, reached the infrastructure and placed the mines at about seventy meters of depth.

Neither Ukrainian President Zelensky nor the head of the SBU military intelligence service, General Kyrylo Budanov, knew anything about the operation, demonstrating that it is part of those actions that Kyiv's Western allies, in particular the United States, do not see with a good eye, exactly like the raids on Russian territory (which are, among other things, wanted and personally sponsored by Budanov).

Despite the internal conflict between Ukrainian apparatus, the West's attitude is unlikely to change, also because support for Ukraine, whether economic or military, is essential to guarantee the continuation of the resistance against Russia. It is no coincidence that Germany, which from the sabotage of North Stream was directly affected and that had maintained a certain ambiguity in relations with Moscow at the beginning of the conflict also to protect that strategic infrastructure, announced the doubling of military aid for Kyiv.

Photo: X