Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Mark Milley, who completed his work in this position, shared his impressions of cooperation with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
This was reported by The Washington Post.
After the start of the Russian invasion, Zaluzhnyi had a conversation with Milley. Zaluzhnyi told his American counterpart that Ukraine had only a few serviceable aircraft and urgently needed help from the West.
At the end of the conversation Ukrainian the commander-in-chief, he "felt that he was talking to himself." He completely stopped talking to Millie for a week.
"To be honest, because of my youth and stupidity, I admit that it was my mistake. It was a real disaster," Zaluzhnyi admitted in an interview with The Washington Post.
Over the course of 19 months, Zaluzhnyi and Milley spent hours discussing developments on the battlefield during regular calls. So far, the United States has sent more than $40 billion worth of equipment to Kyiv, becoming the largest donor of military aid.
"He's human," Milley recalled in a recent interview with The Post. "His country has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of Russian troops. ... He was pressed against the wall. The pressure level is very high. It's completely normal for someone to get a little angry and angry. And I understood that."
Farewell to General Mark Milley as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 29, 2023 / Photo: Associated Press
Generals, of course, have an interest in concealing differences between them or their governments. Nevertheless, the relationship between Milley and Zaluzhny echoed the sometimes friendly and sometimes strained relations between the United States and Ukraine.
"I always argue with him, but these differences were mitigated by mutual respect," Zaluzhnyi said.
Milley asked where Zaluzhnyi's family would be if the Russian Federation attacked
In one conversation shortly before Putin's invasion, Milley went from professional to personal. He asked Zaluzhnyi where his family would be while Zaluzhnyi commanded Ukrainian forces in the event of a full-scale invasion.
Zaluzhnyi replied that his wife Olena and children would remain in Kyiv. One of his two daughters, who had received a medical education, was to treat the wounded; the other will serve in the military. "We will fight and die in Kyiv if necessary," Zaluzhny told him.
"Then I said, 'Wow,'" Milley said. These guys are serious guys. And for me, he is a representative of the Ukrainian people. And he is fully committed to defending his country."
The first face-to-face meeting between Zaluzhnyi and Milley took place on the Polish-Ukrainian border earlier this year. For several hours, they looked at maps showing the battlefield and discussed plans for a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was professional and productive, but after a few months, Zaluzhnyi regretted that it was so formal.
"Now I understand that he won't be here anytime soon. This man deserved me to do something different. We could meet as good friends. After the official part, we could just have a normal conversation," said the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Zaluzhnyi added that he hoped that a more informal meeting would take place later.
In turn, Milley expressed confidence that his departure would not break the partnership between the American and Ukrainian militaries.
Recall that on September 30, General Mark Milley ended his tenure at the head of the US Army.
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