"I felt like I was talking to myself" — Zaluzhnyi on talks with Milley following Russian invasion
The relationship between the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has become friendly during their joint work
The Washington Post reported the information.
It noted that shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Zaluzhnyi contacted General Milley and emphasized the need for military assistance to Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian general, at the end of the conversation, he had the feeling that he was "talking to himself." So Zaluzhnyi stopped communicating with Milley for a week.
"Frankly speaking, due to my youth and stupidity, I admit that it was my mistake. It was actually a disaster," the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander-in-chief said in an interview with the WP.
The media outlet writes that this began a "crucial and complicated relationship" between the two military commanders, who eventually became personally close. Zaluzhnyi, who had held Ukraine's top military post for less than a year at the time of the Russian attack, said he relied on Milley for strategy and to help provide weapons to Ukraine.
"But the relationship, like the larger wartime ties between Washington and Kyiv, remained charged. While US officials vowed to continue supplying arms and intelligence to keep Russia at bay, they sometimes chafed at Ukraine’s demands for more, and faster, deliveries. And while the Ukrainians were grateful for US aid, they bristled at requests that they limit strikes on Russian territory," the WP writes.
The outlet notes that for 19 months, Zaluzhnyi and Milley spent hours discussing developments on the battlefield in regular phone calls.
Milley's resignation on September 30 marked the end of a working relationship that Zaluzhnyi called " critical to Ukraine’s battlefield successes." It is also noted that Zaluzhnyi’s regular jabs at Milley’s age became an inside joke, a sign of the comfort that the Ukrainian general began to feel around Milley.
"I can’t even imagine if it had been anyone else. We have a friendship. It’s hard to imagine. He’s an older man, but he’s cool," the Ukrainian general said.
He also said that in one conversation shortly before the Russian invasion, Milley moved from the professional to the personal. He asked Zaluzhnyi where his family would be while he was in command of the Ukrainian forces.