Time dedicated frontpage to Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces
Time dedicated the cover and extensive material to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who expressed the opinion that Ukraine's interim victories will be only a respite in the struggle.
As UP writes, the publication notes that Valerii Zaluzhnyi is one of many Ukrainians responsible for the courage and progress of the Ukrainian army. He became the second "face of the war" after President Volodymyr Zelensky and can play a significant role in the history of this war. Noting the popularity of the Armed Forces commander-in-chief, Time tells his story.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, giving an interview to Time in June, admitted that in July 2021, the offer to head the Armed Forces of Ukraine stunned him. Then the russians pulled up tanks to the border, and the Americans warned that Ukraine could face a full-scale attack soon.
"I often looked back and asked myself: how did I get into this?" Zaluzhnyi said almost a year later.
Time notes that hardened by years of struggle with russia on the eastern front, Zaluzhnyi belongs to a new generation of Ukrainian leaders who have learned to be flexible and delegate decisions to commanders on the ground. His diligent preparation in the run-up to the invasion and clever battle tactics in the early stages of the war helped the nation repel the onslaught of the russians, the article notes.
Unlike Zelensky, who was skeptical of intelligence reports that a massive russian invasion was imminent, Zaluzhny saw it as a matter of time, so when he took office, he began implementing changes to allow officers to return fire without the permission of higher command.
"We needed to defeat their desire to attack. We also needed to show our teeth (to the russians – ed.)," says Zaluzhnyi.
In early February, Zaluzhny demanded that commanders take military exercises seriously.
"There's no mistaking the smell of war, and it was already in the air. But when it came to the details of his strategy, Zaluzhnyi held them close. I was afraid that we would lose the element of surprise," he says. "We needed the adversary to think that we are all deployed in our usual bases, smoking grass, watching TV, and posting on Facebook," the commander-in-chief said.
When the invasion began on the morning of February 24, the general had two strategic goals for Ukraine's defense.
"We could not allow Kyiv to fall. And, on all the other vectors, we had to spill their blood, even if in some places it would require losing territory," said Zaluzhnyi.
The aim was to allow the russians to advance and then destroy their front lines and rear supply lines. On the sixth day of the invasion, Zaluzhnyi concluded it was working. The russians failed to take the airports around Kyiv and advanced deep enough to begin straining supply lines, leaving them open, Time writes.
Zaluzhnyi was surprised that, faced with resistance and supply problems, the enemy did not retreat and did not switch to another approach. "They just herded their soldiers into the slaughter. They chose the scenario that suited me best of all," said Zaluzhnyi.
"We will fight until the last drop of blood," he told Time.
Kyiv's most remarkable success since the start of the full-scale war was a lightning counteroffensive in northeastern Ukraine at the beginning of September, which stunned russian troops. It was expected in the Kherson region but became unexpected in the Kharkiv region. According to Time, vladimir putin responded to this success with a "partial mobilization."
However, operations in the south of Ukraine are progressing slowly. As winter approaches, Kyiv must be careful not to overextend itself.
For his part, Zaluzhnyi is preparing for a long and bloody struggle.
"Knowing what I know firsthand about the Russians, our victory will not be final. Our victory will give us a chance to catch our breath and prepare for the next war," he told Time.