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Zaluzhnyi's dismissal, Ukraine-Russia POWs exchange - Thursday brief

Zaluzhnyi's dismissal, Ukraine-Russia POWs exchange - Thursday brief Collage by RBC-Ukraine

Yesterday, on February 8, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Meanwhile, Ukraine returned home 100 defenders as part of another prisoner exchange.

RBC-Ukraine has collected the main news for February 8.

Russia's war against Ukraine: Latest news

Zaluzhnyi's dismissal

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

"I am grateful to General Zaluzhnyi for two years of defense. I am grateful for every victory we have achieved together and thanks to all Ukrainian warriors who heroically bear the brunt of this war," the president states.

According to him, they openly discussed today what changes the army needs. The president offered General Zaluzhnyi to continue being part of the Ukrainian state team and added that he would be grateful for his consent.

"Starting today, a new management team takes over the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.I want our warriors in Robotyne or Avdiivka, the General Staff, and the Staff to have the same vision of the war. Everyone whose experience will now serve the renewal of the Armed Forces is being carefully selected. I have had dozens of conversations with commanders of various levels. In particular, today I spoke with Brigadier Generals Andriy Hnatov, Mykhailo Drapatyi, Ihor Skibiuk, and Colonels Pavlo Pallisa and Vadym Sukharevskyi," adds the president.

Syrskyi becomes new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Oleksandr Syrskyi has been appointed as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Previously, this position was held by Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

"I have appointed Colonel-General Syrskyi as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced.

Oleksandr Sirskyi was the commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine before being appointed as the Commander-in-Chief. Currently, it remains unknown who will lead the largest part of the Ukrainian army in his place.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi previously held the position of head of the Armed Forces. He was appointed to this post back in 2021, before the start of a full-scale Russian invasion.

Ukraine returned 100 defenders from Russian captivity

Ukraine conducted another exchange of prisoners of war with the Russian Federation. As a result, 100 defenders returned home.

"Another 100 Ukrainians are back home, in Ukraine. National Guard, border guards, Armed Forces. Most of them are defenders of Mariupol. All of them are ours, all are back in their native land. We're working on each and every one and won't stop until everyone is back," writes Zelenskyy.

According to the Coordination Headquarters, among the rescued servicemen this time are 49 National Guard soldiers, 25 border guards, and 26 servicemen of the Armed Forces, including 11 territorial defense fighters.

"All the liberated are from the enlisted and sergeant ranks. 84 rescued soldiers defended Mariupol (including 82 defenders of Azovstal), while the rest were carrying out combat missions in the Donetsk and Luhansk directions," the statement says.

€50 billion until 2027 not enough for Ukraine, says EU lawmaker

The recently agreed assistance to Ukraine from the European Union in the amount of 50 billion euros is insufficient. It will not cover the country's needs until 2027.

The Chairman of the Budget Committee of the European Parliament, Johan Van Overtveldt, said that the assessment of Ukraine's non-military needs is 3 billion euros per month. Thus, the country needs 36 billion euros annually.

But, as Van Overtveldt noted, the European Union had allocated 50 billion euros for Ukraine between 2024 and 2027.

"Hence, 12.5bn euro will on average be available for Ukraine each year. The deal between the EU and the United States was that each would take care of half of the Ukrainian needs, meaning 18 bn euro for the EU and the US each. The Ukraine Facility (a program within the framework of which Ukraine will receive 50 billion euros - ed.) will hence be annually at least 5.5 bn euro short of what the EU’s commitment was. Over the entire period 2024-27 the shortfall is 22 bn euro," he explained.

At the same time, he clarified that over the entire period until 2027, the shortfall will amount to 22 billion euros.

Scholz before visiting Washington: Germany could not support Ukraine alone

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on allies in Europe and the United States to provide greater support to Ukraine at the start of his trip to Washington.

"Now is the moment when we need to do what is necessary, meaning jointly provide Ukraine with the ability to defend itself and at the same time send a very clear signal to the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin," he said.

He notes that the signal to Putin is that Europe will support Ukraine long enough.

"The signal is that he cannot count on our support diminishing, but it will last quite a long time and will be significant. This message needs to be conveyed together in the coming days and weeks," Scholz added.

He also says Ukraine is indeed defending itself with all it has. For Kyiv to continue, it needs support, Scholz stated.

"What has been promised so far in Europe and what has also been promised in resolutions by the U.S. Congress is still not enough. Therefore, we need to find a way to do more together," the Chancellor said.

Ukraine starts detailed talks with Denmark on security guarantees

As stated in the announcement, the negotiations began within the framework of the implementation of the G7 Joint Declaration on Support for Ukraine, to which Denmark, along with the countries of Northern Europe, was one of the first to join.

The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva, and the Danish delegation was headed by State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lisbeth Zilmer-Jones.

The parties discussed the main elements of future bilateral security commitments and agreed on a schedule for further talks.

"Denmark's security commitments confirm the unwavering and powerful support, including military assistance, which it has provided to our country since the beginning of Russian aggression," the statement said.

Ukrainian Armed Forces destroy Russian Ka-52 helicopter with crew near Avdiivka

The Ukrainian military destroyed a Russian Ka-52 Alligator helicopter with its crew. It was landed from a man-portable air defense system on February 7 near Avdiivka, Donetsk region.

"On February 7, in the operational area of Tavria Operational and Strategic Group of troops, soldiers of one of the mechanized units destroyed a Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter," said Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of the Tavria Operational and Strategic Group of troops.

According to the general, the Russian Alligator with its crew was hit by man-portable air defense systems in the Avdiivka direction.