Who is the ‘Iron General’ symbolizing the Ukrainian counterattack on the cover of Time magazine

Kyiv.-El General Valery Zaluzhny, who was unknown to the Ukrainians when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief last year, has established himself in these months of war as one of the Symbol of resistance against Russian invasion,

Zaluzny is now the hero of the cover of the new edition of the magazine TimeWhich publishes a long report on the success of Ukrainian counterintelligence in recent weeks.

,When the history of the war in Ukraine is written, Zaluzny will probably play a major role.He was one of the Ukrainian leaders who spent years transforming the country’s armed forces from a clumsy Soviet model into a modern fighting force,” the magazine said. Time,

“Hardened by years of fighting Russia on the Eastern Front, he was part of a new generation of Ukrainian leaders who learned to be flexible and delegate decisions to commanders on the ground. His resolute preparation for invasion and effective battlefield strategy early in the war helped the nation repel a Russian attack.“, adds the article.

“Knowing what I already know about the Russians, our victory will not be final,” said the general TimeOn the military successes of recent weeks. “Our victory will be an opportunity to catch our breath and prepare for the next war,” he said.

In July, when the burly man turned 49, Ukrainians took to social media to collectively congratulate him. Extremely popular, children use his name in their games and even in the Ukrainian edition of the magazine the trend included an article about him, where he called him “a mythical figure”,

Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzny, Chief of Defense of Ukraine.NATO – NATO / EMI

“Thanks to Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny, our confidence has returned,” former Transport Minister Volodymyr Omelyan wrote on Facebook.

The Ukrainians credit Zaluzny with thwarting the initial Russian plan to quickly take Kyiv after launching their offensive on 24 February. The fierce resistance of the Ukrainian army under the command of Zaluzhny forced Moscow Concentrate your attacks in the east and south of the country.

magazine Time Already added to my list this year 100 most influential people in the worldWith Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

zaluzni “He became the military spirit his country needed,” US General Mark Milley, Chief of the General Staff, quoted in the profile of TimeIn which he noted that the general’s actions “will go down in history.”

Despite the fact that he has not given interviews since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian press is full of praise for what they call “Iron General”, a. Russian plans for “Blitzkrieg, change of command and Ukraine’s geopolitical orientation failed”Zaluzny wrote on Facebook two weeks after the invasion began.

“No matter how hard it is for us, (this war) It will certainly not be inconvenient for us“, wrote.

Soldiers in Ukraine transport military equipment.
Soldiers in Ukraine transport military equipment.

For analyst Anatoly Oktsiyuk of the Ukrainian think tank Democracy House, Zaluzhny “is capable and does not have the old Soviet mentality” typical of the Ukrainian general staff.

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

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

General priority for reforms in the army to meet the standards of the NATO military alliance to which Ukraine wishes to join despite Russian opposition. A few months after his appointment, he warned of “the threat of a great aggression of Moscow”, in one of the few interviews he granted. “We have to prepare for it,” said Zaluzny, the father of two daughters, one of whom is in the army.

A couple reacts after the Russian bombardment in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, August 3, 2022. (Ap Photo/Kostyantin Liberov)
A couple reacts after the Russian bombardment in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, August 3, 2022. (Associated Press Photo/Kostyantin Liberov)

As part of a younger generation of officers with experience in the war against the separatists, they called on the Ukrainian military command ‘Use by all means’ to ‘protect life and health’ of soldiersAccording to some media, his popularity has also caused jealousy in Zelensky’s crew, despite the fact that Zaluzny has shown no signs of political ambition and his public announcements are minimal.

In July, Zelensky first criticized an army decision that announced restrictions on the movement of reservists between different parts of the country. But he immediately silenced his words by making it clear that it was “A detail, nothing important”“There is no misunderstanding between the army command and me,” assured the president.

An earlier version of this note was originally published last August.