On the evening of January 29, 2024, the information that Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was fired appeared online. It’s not true. Read our analysis. 

What happened? 

Today, our chatbot Perevirka was flooded with requests to fact-check the information that Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was fired. 

Different media outlets, social media users, and Telegram channels shared and re-shared the information.

Most of the first requests to our bot, though, referred to the message of a former member of the parliament [people’s deputy — ed.], Boryslav Bereza. He posted (archive) the message on January 29 at 18:23. 

He wrote, “The Office of the President still wants to eat their shit. My sources from the Office of the President said that Zaluzhnyi was fired from the Commander-in-Chief post! I very much want this information not to be confirmed. Very much. But it’s the second source already [reporting this — ed.].” 

Telegram channel “Joker” also shared (archive) the information about Zaluzhnyi being fired and added the information that Defense Minister Umierov (archive) was fired as well. 

“Why Umierov, though? I’ve started to praise him just yesterday,” said the channel’s authors. 

Later, “Joker” posted (archive) that Zaluzhnyi and Umierov were fired along with another 101 people. 

After that, Roman Tsymbaliuk, a Ukrainian journalist, shared the news (archive) that Zaluzhnyi was fired. He noted that the head of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR), Kyrylo Budanov, will be the new Commander-in-Chief of the AFU. 

Telegram-channel “BUTUSOV PLUS” (archive) and a media Censor.net also shared the same information. 

Yuriy Butusov said President Zelenskyy has already signed the decree firing Zaluzhnyi. 

“President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the decree to remove Valerii Zaluzhnyi from the post of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” 

Member of the parliament Honcharenko also shared the news on his Telegram channel (archive). He added that Zaluzhnyi was offered a position in one of the European countries but declined. 


The first official message about Valerii Zaluzhnyi supposedly being fired was posted by the Defense Ministry of Ukraine.

The MoD wrote in their Telegram channel (archive): “Fair journalists, we’ll answer everyone at once: No, that’s not true.” 

A spokesman for the President, Serhii Nykyforov, denied the information about Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s removal from the post in a comment to Suspilne (archive). 

Hromadske journalists were given a similar response.

Serhii Nykyforov said, “I debunk [the info about] Zaluzhnyi being fired.” 

In Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s evening address on January 29, he didn’t mention any staff changes. 

Hanna Maliar, former Deputy Minister of Defense, said at 8:44 p.m.:

“A bit of likbez for Telegram users. Staff changes of high military command are not happening in Telegram. If no signed and published decree exists, there is no [new] appointment [to the post]. Why is the information being spread without a decree? There can be different motives: 

  • political fighting; 
  • chaos… just chaos; 
  • the intentional creation of chaos; 
  • the attempt to influence one or other processes; 
  • provocations; lots of other reasons and motives.” 

The information spread on the evening of January 29, 2024, about firing Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, is false.

There is no such decree on the website of the Office of the President of Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t mention a staff decision like this in his evening address. Serhii Nykyforov, the spokesman for the President of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense debunked the information as well. 

Conclusion: Fake 

Author: Aliesia Yashchenko

UPD (23:44 on 28.01): Hanna Maliar is a former Deputy Minister of Defense.