Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi as commander in chief, citing a need to reinvigorate the country's armed forces as the war with Russia approaches its third year.

Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi replaced the outgoing commander, a statement released Thursday said.

The move is likely to spark opposition as Zaluzhnyi, who had held the post since July 2021, has remained popular among Ukrainians amid reports of differences with the president in recent months.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen during a training session in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on Feb. 7, 2024. (Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo)

"The feeling of stagnation specifically in the southern directions and the difficulties in the battles in the Donetsk region have affected the public mood," Zelenskyy said in the statement, adding he had requested that Zaluzhnyi remain in a government post.

The move comes after Zaluzhnyi said in an interview with British magazine The Economist in November that the war with Russia was at a "stalemate," an assessment that was rejected by Zelenskyy.

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