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6 Feb, 2024 12:42

Ukraine’s top general sparing neo-Nazis from frontline slaughter – ex-CIA analyst

Valery Zaluzhny may find allies in radical nationalists in his standoff with President Vladimir Zelensky, Larry Johnson says
Ukraine’s top general sparing neo-Nazis from frontline slaughter – ex-CIA analyst

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who has reportedly been attempting to fire his top general, Valery Zaluzhny, could find himself out of a job before the nation’s top military commander, considering that the latter is backed by armed neo-Nazis, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has argued.

Amid widespread reports that Zelensky had unsuccessfully tried to sack Zaluzhny, Ukrainian and foreign media described a tense meeting between the pair, with the general reportedly rejecting a call to resign voluntarily and the president hesitating to remove him under pressure from military top brass. Zelensky has since told the press that a major overhaul of the military command was imminent.

In conversation with Nima Alkhorshid, the Brazil-based host of the YouTube channel, Dialogue Works on Sunday, Johnson claimed the soap opera would be hilarious “if hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians weren’t dead and maimed.”

”The guy with the gun usually wins and last time I checked Zaluzhny’s got more guns than Zelensky,” Johnson said.

Comparing the two men, he said the general should not be seen as a “great guy.”

“I don’t want to present Zaluzhny as some sort of military genius or really a good-hearted man,” the commentator remarked. He is “a bit of a scumbag” who “embraces the neo-Nazi ideology,” Johnson claimed.

”He’s been very careful to not insert the most ideologically driven troops – the Azov and the Kraken units – into the front lines where they get killed, because he wants to preserve them. Instead, he is sending the cannon-fodder guys.”

Whether or not Zaluzhny shares the radical nationalist ideology of the Ukrainian far-right is hard to tell from his public statements, but he is believed to have considerable support in those circles.

A social meia post on Friday by Andrey Stempitsky, a Ukrainian military leader and prominent member of the nationalist Right Sector group, featured a photo of him giving Zaluzhny an honorary ID, certifying the general as the first member of Stempitsky’s brigade. A portrait of Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist leader and Nazi collaborator, was in the background of the image.

Zelensky was elected president in 2019 on a platform of reconciliation with rebels in the east and with Russia, but threats of violence by the extreme right made his office pull back from early attempts to deliver on that promise.