Russian leaders say the recent change-up at the highest levels of the Ukrainian military will not make a difference in the ongoing invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday appointed Сol. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi as the country’s highest-ranking army general of the country in a national military shake-up. 

“We don’t think it’s a factor that will change the course of the ‘special military operation’,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

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Putin attends meeting in Moscow

Russia President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education via video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Syrskyi replaced Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi as commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military following nearly two years of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also reacted to the appointment in a vitriolic essay posted to his Telegram account.

“Looking at the biography of the new commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces Syrskyi one feels a sense of hatred, contempt and disgust,” Medvedev wrote on the social media platform, according to Reuters.

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Oleksandr Syrskyi

Oleksandr Syrskyi awards Ukrainian fighters of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade “Edelweiss” in the Soledar direction in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.  (Yuriy Mate/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

“Disgust for a man who was a Soviet Russian officer, but became a Bandera traitor, who broke his oath and serves the Nazis, destroying his loved ones. May the earth burn under his feet!” the former president added. 

Stepan Bandera was a far-right Ukrainian nationalist leader in the World War II era who is often referenced by the Kremlin in justifying the invasion. 

He is sometimes cited as an architect of “nazification” in Ukraine by Putin and the ruling Russian regime.

Medvedev currently serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.

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Dmitry Medvedev

Deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting with members of the Security Council in Moscow. (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelenskyy said his decision to turn the position over to a new commander was not a reflection of Zaluzhnyi’s performance, but part of a wider refresh of the country’s war leadership.

“The time for such a renewal is now,” Zelenskyy said.

“A reset, a new beginning is necessary,” Zelenskyy added. The Ukrainian president claimed the review is “not about a single person but about the direction of the country’s leadership.”

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