Until 2014, the Ukrainian command structure was heavily centralized, based on the Soviet model. Norwegian military expert Hans Petter Midtten told the newspaper that most of the high positions in Ukraine’s security apparatus are held by Russians, who have spent their entire careers in the Soviet Union. “His loyalty to Ukraine and his willingness to change was accordingly limited.”
The Zalushnij are said to enjoy a high prestige among soldiers.
After the events of 2014, the Ukrainian military was radically reformed and sorted out for cooperation with NATO. According to its own statements, the United States alone has since backed Ukraine with ten billion dollars, and NATO officers have trained thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. As head of combat training, Valery Salushny has also played a major role in promoting training on Western weapons since 2015 and conducting joint exercises with British and American units.
According to Radio Free Europe, Salushanies are held in high esteem even among ordinary soldiers. The Zalushnyes were stationed in the Donbass since 2014 and also gained experience in frontline combat there. Among soldiers, he is considered frank and open to his problems. Even after his appointment as Major General in 2017, Zalushny was in no hurry to move up to a staff position.
Zalushni gives officials more freedom in the field
Following his promotion as Commander-in-Chief in July 2021, Zalushny, together with the new Defense Minister, Oleksey Reznikov, proceeded energetically with the reform of the Ukrainian Army beginning in November of that year. “Until then, Ukraine had a completely passive command structure,” Eastern Europe expert Sarah Whitmore told the New Zurcher Zeitung.
One of the first official acts of the Zalushnij was to give more autonomy to the authorities in the region so that the situation as in 2014 does not repeat itself. Since then, soldiers at the front have been allowed to fire without consulting Kyiv if they are fired upon.
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