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Russia-Ukraine war: Zelenskyy visits troops near Bakhmut
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Ukrainian troops stationed near the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The visit comes amidst continued fighting for control of the city, the bloodiest since Russia invaded in February last year.
On Wednesday, Zelenskyy visited Ukrainian troops near the frontlines in Bakhmut, awarding medals to the soldiers he said was heroically defending the country’s sovereignty. Ukrainian forces have held the defenses in Bakhmut for eight months even as they have suffered significant casualties. Videos shared on social media showed Zelenskyy handing awards to soldiers in a warehouse in the area.
“I am honored to be here today to give awards to our heroes. To shake hands and thank them for protecting the sovereignty of our country,” said Zelenskyy in a post shared on the Telegram messaging platform with the video. “Your fate is so difficult, yet so historic. To defend our land and to return everything to Ukraine for our children. I bow low before all the heroes, your close comrades you have lost in the east, and in general throughout the war.”
Zelenskyy has previously visited frontline troops during the war, and his visit on Wednesday followed that of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s visit to the occupied territory of Mariupol, the first time Putin visited any Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine’s Donbas region, the closest Putin has been to the front lines of the ongoing war.
Another video also showed Zelenskyy visiting the wounded soldiers that were receiving treatment. Zelenskyy thanked the soldiers and awarded them with medals.
Meanwhile, fighting has also been taking place in northern Luhansk in Ukraine, according to the British defense ministry on Thursday. The ministry noted that the fighting has been taking place in the Svatove-Kremmina area of Luhansk since earlier this month, with Russia partially regaining control of the “immediate approaches” to Kremmina.
“In places, Russia has made gains of up to several kilometers. Russian commanders are likely trying to expand a security zone west from the defense lines they have prepared along higher ground and integrate the natural obstacle of the Oskil River. They likely seek to recapture Kupiansk, a logistics node,” said the ministry.