Ukraine's 'iron general' inherited $1 million from a US software developer and donated it straight to the military

Valerii Zaluzhnyi
Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi attends a session of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv, on December 28, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters
  • Valerii Zaluzhnyi is the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces.

  • He recently inherited $1 million from a Ukrainian-American software developer, reports said.

  • Zaluzhnyi donated the full amount to Ukraine's military earlier this month, the reports said.

The Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's military, dubbed the "iron general", inherited $1 million from a Ukrainian-American software developer and donated it straight to the military, according to multiple reports.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi donated the full amount to the military's bank account on January 5, its press service confirmed to the Ukrainian Pravda and The New York Times.

The money was handed down to him by a man called Gregory Stepanets, his family told The Times.

Zaluzhnyi told the Ukrainian Pravda in a statement: "I gave my whole life to the Armed Forces. And I did not have a single doubt about what to do with the inheritance."

"Mr. [Gregory's] last will was obviously to support the Ukrainian army through me," he added. "I am grateful to everyone who helps the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And I am grateful to my family for their understanding."

Stepanets was born in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia in 1938, according to the Ukrainian Pravda. He fled the Soviet Union in 1989 and worked as a software developer in Redmond, Washington, the outlet reported.

He made his fortune after inventing a decoding system and selling it to Microsoft, the Ukrainian Pravda reported.

It is unclear what the relationship is between Zaluzhnyi and Stepanets.

Zaluzhnyi was appointed as his country's top uniformed commander by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in July 2021.

He has been largely credited with helping Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion. A former soldier himself, Zaluzhnyi reformed Ukraine's military from a Soviet model into a modern fighting force.

"Zaluzhnyi has emerged as the military mind his country needed," the highest-ranking officer in the US military, Mark Milley, told Time Magazine last year. "His leadership enabled the Ukrainian armed forces to adapt quickly with battlefield initiative against the Russians."

Zaluzhnyi's massive success as the leader of the Ukrainian army has led him to be nicknamed "Iron Unbreakable," Politico reported.

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