Zelenskyy touchingly presented the Hero of Ukraine to Zaluzhnyi: emotional footage
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally awarded former Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi with the title of Hero of Ukraine. The emotional moment of the awarding touched Ukrainians.
The video of the ceremony was released by the President's Office on Friday, February 9. During the presentation of the Golden Star Order, which is awarded to Heroes of Ukraine, Zaluzhnyi and Zelensky hugged each other twice.
"Today we are honoring with state awards and the title of Hero of Ukraine the soldiers who, together with all those who stood up to defend our state and Ukrainian life, determine the fate of Ukraine," the President of Ukraine said.
He added that Ukraine has already managed to stop the aggressor and "learned how to defend its own in the way it needs to win."
"And we have to go all this way exactly the way we need to in order to achieve Ukrainian goals. Glory to the Ukrainian soldiers! Glory to Ukraine!" Zelenskyy said.
The video also shows the moment when the award was presented to the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov.
The day before, Zelensky signed decrees awarding the title of Hero of Ukraine to Zaluzhnyi and Budanov.
The ceremony was also attended by the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, on February 8, Zelenskyy fired Zaluzhnyi and appointed Syrskyi as the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. The president thanked Zaluzhnyi for "two years of defense" and said he had offered him to stay in the team.
According to Zelenskyy, 2024 can be successful 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, and noted that Zaluzhnyi had one of the most difficult tasks - to lead the army during a major battle with Russia.
Zelenskyy 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 brigades, solving logistical problems, knowledge of the front by each general, a review of the number of staffs, an effective rotation system, trained soldiers on the contact line, and the appointment of a commander of the Unmanned Systems Forces.
The Pentagon stated that it was ready to cooperate effectively with any Ukrainian military leader, while the State Department called the change in the Armed Forces leadership a sovereign decision to which the head of state was entitled.
On February 9, Syrskyi made his first statement as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. In particular, he assured that the lives of Ukrainian soldiers were and still are the main value.