What has happened?
Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the Commander of the Medical Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Tetiana Ostashchenko, on the recommendation of Defence Minister Rustem Umierov.
Major General of the Medical Service Anatolii Kazmirchuk will now replace her.
The President of Ukraine announced this in his evening address.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy attributed this decision to the need for a "fundamentally new" level of medical support for the Ukrainian army.
"The task is obvious — and this has been repeatedly discussed in society, particularly in the community of our combat medics... From high-quality turnstiles to full digitalisation and transparency in supply... The experience of the effectiveness of specific units should be extended to the entire defence forces," the President said.
Defence Minister Rustem Umierov believes the reasons for the resignation are "obvious and have been discussed many times". He also outlined the tasks for the new commander. These include digitalisation of processes, supply of quality medical supplies and equipment, tactical medical training meeting the NATO standards, and ensuring personnel rotation.
"It's time to solve the issues of medical supplies for our soldiers... Problems like low-quality turnstiles should not exist in the first place..."
Umierov wrote on his Facebook page.
Tetiana Ostashchenko commented on her dismissal and said she had much to be proud of.
"From the first days of the full-scale invasion, the Unified Medical Space has been created, the system of medical evacuation measures has been improved, the network of military medical commissions has been expanded, cooperation with international partners has been established, the Concept of Rehabilitation Development in the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been approved, and a sergeant corps has been created for proper communication of tactical medicine in the military chain of command…," the former commander said in her address.
Combat medic and NAEMT tactical medicine instructor Mariia Nazarova welcomed the decision to dismiss Ostashchenko but is convinced that Kazmirchuk's appointment was made due to " fictitious staffing constructions".
"The fictitious concept of 'we need a staff general' remains. A general of the medical service usually holds the position of the commander of the medical forces. There are three of them in the Armed Forces. One of them is Ostashchenko. There was a choice between the two," Nazarova wrote on her Facebook page.
She added that Kazmirchuk had been in charge of the main hospital for 11 years.
"In particular, this includes the Military Medical Examination, most medical procurement and medical supply (i.e. direct provision of medical supplies to the military). Weren't the problems with the MME and medical supplies the reason for Ostashchenko's dismissal?" the combat medic outlined.
It will be recalled that on November 13, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing its sources, that the Ministry of Defence was considering dismissing three Armed Forces commanders, including Tetiana Ostashchenko. However, the Ministry denied this information at the time.
"The information published by some media outlets is not true. Please observe information hygiene," the Ministry of Defence said.
What do we know about Anatolii Kazmirchuk?
In 1993, Kazmirchuk graduated from the Faculty of Training Doctors for the Navy at the Kirov Military Medical Academy in St Petersburg.
After that, he returned to Ukraine and studied at the Faculty for Training of Doctors at the Ukrainian Military Medical Academy.
Since then, Anatolii Kazmirchuk has been working in the Ukrainian military medicine system for 30 years.
In 2012, Major General of the Medical Service Anatolii Kazmirchuk was appointed Head of the National Military Medical Clinical Centre Main Military Clinical Hospital in Kyiv.
In 2014, Kazmirchuk was promoted to Major General in the Medical Service.
He also holds a PhD in medicine and has been awarded medals for 10 and 15 years of service for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the first and second class medals For Good Service, Valour and Honour and Badge of Honour, and the For Achievements in Military Service badge.
Kazmirchuk holds the title of Honoured Doctor of Ukraine and the Order of Danylo Halytskyi, Order of Merit, 3rd class and the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, 3rd class.
Why was Tetiana Ostashchenko dismissed?
In July 2023, there were repeated allegations by doctors and volunteers that the Medical Forces Command was supplying low-quality first aid kits to the forefront.
A photo of Chinese turnstiles distributed in military units was published online.
On July 31, 2023, People's Deputy and member of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence Solomiia Bobrovska stated that the Medical Forces Command had not purchased a single first aid kit for the Armed Forces in 2023.
The General Staff responded to the medics' statements and stressed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine "have developed several steps and organisational changes designed to solve problems in the field of tactical medicine."
In an interview with Army Inform at the time, Commander of the Medical Forces Tetiana Ostashchenko said that the information about the lack of procurement of medical kits was not valid.
In August 2023, after a meeting of the National Security and Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada, People's Deputy Inna Sovsun said that every fourth turnstile used by the Ukrainian military was of unknown origin and quality.
Ostashchenko was present at the meeting. The commander of the Medical Forces could not explain the origin of the untested turnstiles.
According to Sovsun, the Committee showed "strange indifference". Some members of the meeting did not see any problems, while others called it a "staged process" to allegedly remove Ostashchenko.