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Kremlin Says New Ukrainian Commander Will Not Change Conflict

Newly appointed Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi.

The Kremlin said Friday that Ukraine's appointment of a new Commander-in-Chief would not lead to any changes in the nearly two-year war between Moscow and Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday relieved his top commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi, marking the biggest shake-up of the country's military leadership since the start of the conflict.

"We don't think it's a factor that will change the course of the 'special military operation'," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, using Moscow's preferred term for its invasion.

Zelensky appointed Oleksandr Syrskyi, an experienced general responsible for some of Ukraine's biggest military achievements, as the country's new commander. 

At the start of the war, Syrskyi led the successful defense of Kyiv, thwarting Russia's plans to seize the capital in a matter of days.

He later commanded Ukraine's lightning counteroffensive in the fall of 2022, when Kyiv's forces reclaimed large swathes of territory that had been captured by Russia in the first months of the invasion.

Peskov also said Friday that Russia would continue its military campaign "until the goals have been achieved."

And yet the front lines have barely shifted in more than a year of fighting, and both sides have lost tens of thousands of soldiers.

Zelensky said fresh military leadership was needed following last year's Ukrainian counteroffensive, which failed to achieve the kind of sweeping territorial gains that many had expected.

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