Zelensky visits frontline Ukrainian Troops in Donbas Region


Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky made a daring trip to the frontline on Sunday as the battle for eastern Ukraine continued to rage.

Zelensky visits frontline Ukrainian Troops in Donbas

Zelensky visited command posts and frontline positions in Lysychansk, which sits across the Siverskyi Donets river from Severodonetsk, where Ukrainian troops were pushing back against Russian forces who had earlier appeared on the verge of taking the strategic city.

In videos released by his office, the Ukrainian president can be seen speaking with and presenting awards to soldiers in a bunker.

He also visited Bakhmut, to the southwest in the Donetsk region of Donbas, and talked with servicemen, the presidency said.

During his visit, Mr Zelensky, who was dressed in his trademark khaki uniform, thanked Ukrainian soldiers for their bravery. “What you all deserve is victory – that is the most important thing. But not at any cost,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, the president spent time with frontline troops in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, where he also met people displaced from the flattened city of Mariupol, which Russia captured last month after a weeks-long siege.

Further east, Russian forces aim to capture Sievierodonetsk as part of its bid to seize the whole Donbas region. However, they face fierce resistance from the Ukrainian army.

The Ukrainian position in Sievierodonetsk, the epicentre of the battle for eastern Ukraine, has “worsened a little”, the governor of Luhansk province said on Monday.

“The fiercest fighting is in Sievierodonetsk. Fast-moving fighting is happening right now,” Serhiy Gaidai said.

Zelensky’s trip to the battlefield gave him an important firsthand view of military operations and was a morale booster for his frontline troops, former Australian army general Mick Ryan said.

It also demonstrated “he has total trust in his army” and served to heighten the contrast between his leadership style and that of his Russian opponent Vladimir Putin.

“An important characteristic demonstrated by Zelensky is his willingness to take personal risk to visit soldiers in the field, and get his own sense of how military operations are unfolding,” Ryan tweeted Monday.

“This is an important way that Zelensky differentiates himself from his adversary.

“I am pretty sure that Putin will not be accepting invitations to visit the poorly fed and led — but well armed — Russian troops in Ukraine at any point in the near future.”

Zelensky previously visited frontlines at the end of May, while there is no indication Putin has been anywhere near the battlefield since he launched his invasion.

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