WorldWho is the “iron general”, the new symbol of...

Who is the “iron general”, the new symbol of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion


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General Valery Zaluzhny, unknown to Ukrainians when he was appointed commander-in-chief last year, has emerged as an icon of the resistance against the Russian invasion.


In July, when this stocky-built man turned 49, Ukrainians took to social media to congratulate him.

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Children use his name in their games and the Ukrainian edition of Vogue magazine included an article about him, calling him “a legendary figure”.

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“Thanks to the commander in chief Zaluzhnyour confidence has returned”, Volodimir Omelian, a former transport minister, wrote on Facebook.

Ukrainians attribute to Zaluzhny having frustrated the initial Russian plan to take kyiv quickly after launching its offensive on February 24.

The fierce resistance of the Ukrainian forces under the command of Zaluzhny forced Moscow to focus its attacks on the east and south of the country.

Time magazine included him this year in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world, along with the president ukrainian, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zaluzhny “He has emerged as the military mind his country needed,” U.S. General Mark Milley, chief of the General Staff, said, quoted in the Time profile, in which he noted that the general’s actions They will go down in history.

new military elite

Despite the fact that he has not given interviews since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian press is full of praise for the one they call iron general”.

Russian plans for a “Blitzkrieg, a change of command and in the geopolitical orientation of Ukraine, failed”wrote Zaluzhny on Facebook two weeks after the start of the invasion.

“No matter how difficult it is for us, (this war) will certainly not be an embarrassment for us”wrote.

For the analyst Anatoly Oktysiuk, from the study center ukrainian Democracy House, Zaluzhny it is “competent and does not have the old Soviet mentality”typical of the General Staff ukrainian.

“He is a patriot, he is not corrupt and he is well trained, even in the West”he added.

Zaluzhny was born on July 8, 1973 at a Soviet military base in Novograd-Volynsky, in northwestern Ukraine.

When pro-Russian separatists began seizing territory in eastern Ukraine in 2014, he led response military operations.

After being appointed head of the Northern Military Command in 2019, he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in July 2021 by Zelensky.

Political jealousy?

The general prioritized reforms in the military to meet the standards of the NATO military alliance, which Ukraine wants to join despite Russian opposition.

A few months after his appointment, he warned about “the threat of further aggression from Moscow, in one of the few interviews he has given.”

“We have to prepare for that,” held Zaluzhnyfather of two daughters, one of whom is a military man.

As part of a young generation of officers with combat experience against the separatists, he called the military command ukrainian to “use all means” to “preserve life and health of the soldiers.

According to some media, his popularity caused jealousy in the environment of Zelenskyalthough Zaluzhny he has given no indication of having political ambitions and his public pronouncements are minimal.

In July, Zelensky he first criticized a decision by the army, which had announced restrictions on the movement of reservists between different parts of the country.

But he immediately tempered his words by clarifying that it was “a detail, nothing important”.

“There is no misunderstanding between the army command and me”assured the president.


Source: Elcomercio

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