Zelensky visits Ukraine's frontline Donetsk region

AFP , Monday 26 Jun 2023

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday visited the frontline Donetsk region in the east of his country, which is partly occupied by Russian forces.

This handout picture taken and released by Ukrainian Presidential press service on June 26, 2023 shows President Volodymyr Zelensky posing with a serviceman at a gas station during a visit to Donetsk region. AFP


According to a statement from his office, Zelensky visited military units involved in heavy fighting around the city of Bakhmut, and met soldiers relaxing at a highway gas station.

Zelensky met soldiers and officers of the "Khortytsia Operational and Strategic Group", which operates on Ukraine's eastern front facing Russian troops in the Donbas region.

Moscow has formally claimed to annex the Donetsk region, which has been partly occupied by Russian-led forces since 2014, but Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive.

In recent weeks, Kyiv has claimed some progress on the northern and southern flanks of the city of Bakhmut, which was seized by Russia in May after a months-long bloody battle.

Zelensky handed out medals to troops during the more formal part of his visit, and was briefed by the Ukrainian regional joint force commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi.

But photographs published on the presidential site also showed him in more relaxed mode sharing coffee and taking selfies with troops and staff at a roadside petrol station.

"According to a good tradition, Volodymyr Zelensky stopped at a gas station in the Donetsk region and had coffee with the military who were there on business," the presidency said.

"The President wished the soldiers health and good luck."

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