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"Iron General" Valerii Zaluzhnyi awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine

Zelenskyy signed the relevant decree

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has awarded former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi the title of Hero of Ukraine.

The President signed Decree No. 61/2024 on February 8, and the text of the document was published on the website of the Presidential Office. According to the decree, Zaluzhnyi was awarded the highest degree of honor in Ukraine for his services in the defense of the country and selfless service to the people.

"For outstanding personal merits in the defense of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, selfless service to the Ukrainian people, I hereby decree to award the title of Hero of Ukraine with the Order of the Golden Star to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, General," the document reads.

''Iron General'' Valerii Zaluzhnyi awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine

In addition, the Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov and Lieutenant Colonel Viacheslav Ageiev were awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine too.

As reported, on February 8, Zelenskyy dismissed Zaluzhnyi from the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and appointed Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces, to replace him. In his video address, the president thanked Zaluzhnyi for "two years of protection" and said he had offered him to stay "in the team of the Ukrainian state."

According to Zelenskyy, 2024 can be a successful year for Ukraine only if there are effective changes in the defense sector.

Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, in turn, said that on February 8, a decision was made to change the leadership of the Armed Forces, noting that Zaluzhnyi had one of the most difficult tasks: to lead the army during a major battle with Russia.

According to the Washington Post, Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi did not trust each other, and the last and main factor in the split was allegedly the general's request to mobilize more people.

Zelenskyy has already voiced his expectations of the new commander-in-chief: the development of a detailed action plan for the Armed Forces for 2024, a fair redistribution of Western weapons between combat brigades, solving logistical problems, knowledge of the frontline by each general, a review of the number of staff, an effective rotation system, only trained soldiers on the contact line, and the appointment of a commander of the Unmanned Systems Forces.

After the change of leadership in the Armed Forces, the Pentagon said it was ready to cooperate effectively with any Ukrainian military leader, while the US State Department called Zaluzhnyi's resignation and the appointment of Syrskyi a sovereign decision that the head of state has the right to make.

On Friday, February 9, Oleksandr Syrskyi made his first statement as commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In particular, he assured that the lives and health of Ukrainian soldiers were and are the main priority.

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