Kyiv, Ukraine – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Valeriy Zaluzhny posted a video on his Telegram channel, which allegedly depicts his work at the headquarters of Ukrainian troops in one of the frontline regions. In the footage, Zaluzhny, together with other commanders, studies the maps of hostilities.
“Together with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Sergei Shaptala, we worked in groupings of troops carrying out the most difficult tasks in the areas where the fiercest battles are taking place,” says the message under the video. .
The caption also states that the counter-offensive “is proceeding as planned.” In one of the fragments of the video, you can see that an A4 sheet with the date June 17, 2023 hangs on the wall between the clocks.
A similar article was published by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
In mid-May, reports appeared in the media and telegrams that Zaluzhny had been injured. In the context of these reports, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not appear in public for several days and, among other things, refused to participate in the meeting of the NATO committee due to the “tense operational situation” in Ukraine.
Moreover, on the evening of June 19, the Ukrainian English-language newspaper Kiev Post reported having received an exclusive comment from the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, whose serious injury or death had been previously reported by Russian media and bloggers. The head of the department denied this information and promised the publication that together with Zaluzhny, Bandera and Petliura, he “would cause nightmares in the dreams of Russian residents”.
Budanov has not appeared in public since May 29. Actual footage with him has not been released.
Possible injury in Zaluzhny
May 24, RIA Novosti citing a source, reported that Valery Zaluzhny suffered head injuries following a missile attack by Russian troops on a command post near Kherson and suffered a craniotomy.
Military correspondent Andriy Rudenko, citing a source at the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote on their Telegram channel that the commander-in-chief is in the main military clinical hospital and is in critical condition after being injured in one of the command posts of the Eastern Group of Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry did not confirm information about Zaluzhny’s injury, releasing a video on May 25 with the commander-in-chief sitting at a table in his office. On June 6, Zelenskyy posted a photo of an emergency meeting on the situation at the Kakhovskaya HPP, where you can see the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin argued that the Russian authorities receive information on the state of health of Zaluzhny, according to Ria Novosti, but there is no guarantee of its reliability.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, during the closed part of the meeting with military correspondents, held on June 13, suggested that the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces was not in Ukraine, but abroad.
“I know. I feel like I know. Well, you can ask him. But for that you need to switch to a foreign language. It seems to me that he is abroad,” the leader said Russian, responding to a question from military envoy Alexander Sladkov about the whereabouts of Zaluzhny.
At the same time, Putin admitted he could be wrong.
Possible injury or death of Budanov
June 15, RIA Novosti citing a law enforcement source, reported that Budanov was seriously injured on May 29 following a Russian strike on the GUR building in Kiev.
According to the source, after that, Budanov was pulled out of the rubble and evacuated by a UAF air ambulance helicopter to the Rzeszow military base in Poland, and from there they were taken to Berlin on an 84- 0087 C-21A from the US Air Force’s 86th Air Medical Evacuation Squadron, which flew from Ramstein US Air Base in Germany. RIA Novosti points out that there is a recording of the flight with corresponding data on the Flightaradar service, and takes this as confirmation of what his source said.
The agency’s interlocutor added that, according to his sources within Ukrainian military intelligence, Budanov would be treated at the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) hospital in Berlin “at 13 Scharnhorststrasse. According to the source, according to his information, the head of the GUR is “in serious condition”.
At the same time, in the reception room of the Berlin hospital RIA Novosti declared that a person named Kirill Budanov is not being cared for in an institution. The German government has also not confirmed reports that the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate is being treated at the Bundeswehr hospital in the German capital.
Russian military correspondents and pro-war bloggers were skeptical of the information from RIA Novosti on Budanov’s injury from the attack.
On June 17, former Verkhovna Rada deputy Ilya Kiva said, citing a source at the Ukrainian Embassy in Germany, that Budanov had died without regaining consciousness.
“Now in Kyiv they are thinking about what to do with it <…> But they will definitely hide this fact as much as possible.” said in a message on the telegram channel of the former parliamentarian.
In Kiev, information about Budanov’s injury has not been confirmed. In particular, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address on June 16 that the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate participated in a meeting of the military committee.
On June 17, reports appeared on Russian Telegram channels, citing the German publication Stern, that Budanov was in a coma. In particular, publications containing such a statement appeared on the channels of the TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov and the portal “Ukraina.ru” (later the message was deleted from the channel of publication). On Stern’s website statement which reports that the magazine “has not published any such news”.
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