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Iron General — Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Who is behind the Ukrainian troops, which bravely repel Russian ‘world’s second’ army

Iron General — Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Who is behind the Ukrainian troops, which bravely repel Russian ‘world’s second’ army

Before Russia unleashed the full-scale war against Ukraine, some politicians and experts predicted the imminent defeat of Ukraine, as the Russian army was ‘much more powerful,’ Russia had more weapons, the Russian army was the ‘world’s second,’ and so on. 

But the war has been going on for 112 days now, and Russia has not been able to achieve significant success. Its troops have left Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv regions. Russia cannot advance in the Donbas, although it has concentrated almost all its forces there. All this is thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine — men and women — who courageously defend their country and fight till the end. 

The great merit of Ukraine’s military success belongs to its military leadership, in particular, to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. He wasn’t well known to an international audience before the large-scale war but became a real revelation after February 24, 2022, and an example for many military leaders. Read who is behind the Ukrainian troops, which bravely repel Russian ‘world’s second’ army in our special story.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, 48, was born into a military family and dreamed of being one from childhood. He holds three degrees, two in military affairs and one in international relations.

In 2014, he graduated from the Ivan Cherniakhovskyi National Defense University of Ukraine. As the best graduate of the operational and strategic level of training, he was awarded the Transitional Sword of the Queen of Great Britain.

Zaluzhnyi was never one of those servicemen who stayed in the office. Like many officers, he actively participated in the fighting in the Donbas. 

He passed all stages of military service and, in July 2021, was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


Valerii Zaluzhnyi is the first Ukrainian top commander who hasn’t served in the Soviet Army, and, therefore, he has a completely new approach to the Military Service. 

Zaluzhnyi is the commander who is respected, not feared. He supports the involvement of youth in the army and the use of the NATO warfare approach, not the Soviet one. He advocates military decentralization and bureaucracy elimination in the army.


Politico named Zaluzhnyi ‘iron general’ and said he is definitely a hero, but not a star, as he largely avoided the spectacle of a celebrity commander and just did what he should  — defend Ukraine from Russian invaders.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi is included in TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2022. 

“Ukrainians defending their homeland against significant Russian aggression is incredible. General Zaluzhnyy is the man behind that effort, bearing the immense burden of leading in combat. His work will be remembered by history,” Mark Milley, head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Source, said about Zaluzhnyi.


Thanks to Valerii Zaluzhnyi and the Armed Forces of Ukraine in general,  all plans for the Russian invasion failed. During the three months of the war, the Russian army — many times larger and much more weaponized than the Ukrainian one — did not take a single large city.

Every soldier who defends Ukraine from Russian invaders is definitely a hero.

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