KYIV: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday fired commander of joint forces operation Major Gen Eduard Mykhailovich Moskalov, reported CNN.
Moskalov had been appointed to the position last March when Lt Gen Oleksandr Pavliuk was appointed head of the Kyiv regional military administration.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy did not provide an explanation for Moskalov’s dismissal, but it’s the latest in a long line of recent leadership changes made by his administration, reported CNN.
Ukrainian authorities have conducted a series of anti-corruption searches and crackdowns across the country, and a variety of high-profile dismissals have followed.
It is not yet clear if Moskalov’s firing was connected to the recent corruption purge, reported CNN. In a recent development, on the first visit to Kyiv, Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud signed off on USD 400 million Ukraine aid package.
For the first time since the two countries established diplomatic relations 30 years ago, a Saudi foreign minister has visited Ukraine. President Zelenskyy’s office released a video of him meeting Saudi Arabia’s Prince Farhan Al Saud on Sunday, reported CNN.
Zelenskyy said he expected the meeting would “provide a new impetus to further intensification of our mutually beneficial dialogue.” “Thank you for supporting peace in Ukraine, our sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” he said, adding, “This is very important for us and our society.”
Saudi Arabia has steered a neutral course in the conflict. Last year, the Kingdom mediated a prisoner exchange, in which two American and five British citizens were released from Russian detention. Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential office, called the meeting successful in a message on messaging platform Telegram.
“Ukraine will receive real help from Saudi Arabia,” the Ukrainian official said. “The Presidential Office signed two documents formalizing a USD 400 million aid package to Ukraine: USD 100 million in humanitarian aid and USD 300 million in oil products,” reported CNN.
Ukraine reported heavy Russian shelling in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions this weekend, while forces are locked in brutal urban combat in the flashpoint city of Bakhmut. Moreover, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan vowed there would be “real costs” for China if it provides lethal aid to Russia in its war on Ukraine.
“From our perspective, actually, this war presents real complications for Beijing. And Beijing will have to make its own decisions about how it proceeds, whether it provides military assistance. But, if it goes down that road, it will come at real costs to China. And I think China’s leaders are weighing that as they make their decisions,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
In diplomatic conversations with China, he added, the US is “not just making direct threats. We’re just laying out both the stakes and the consequences, how things would unfold. And we are doing that clearly and specifically behind closed doors.”
Sullivan’s comments come at a critical juncture in the war in Ukraine. The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war, three sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN.
It does not appear that Beijing has made a final decision yet, the sources said, as negotiations between Russia and China about the price and scope of the equipment are ongoing.
Since invading Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly requested drones and ammunition from China, the sources familiar with the intelligence said, and Chinese leadership has been actively debating over the last several months whether or not to send the lethal aid, the sources added.
CIA Director Bill Burns said the US is “confident” Beijing is considering such a move, but intelligence suggests no final decision has been made, reported CNN. Meanwhile, Burns said the CIA is also seeing signs that Russia is proposing to help Iran on its missile program in exchange for military aid. (ANI)