Zelenskyy visits Ukrainian defenders at war-ravaged Bakhmut – photo report
Defenders of Bakhmut hand over the flag of Ukraine to Zelenskyy (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an unannounced visit to the war-ravaged frontline city of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on Dec. 20, where he met with the Ukrainian defenders.
On the 300th day of the war, Zelenskyy visited the forward positions of one of the mechanized brigades charged defending the approaches to the city.
The president listened to the commander’s report on the operational situation, logistical support of the Ukrainian units defending Bakhmut, as well as proposals for further actions.
Zelenskyy thanked the defenders of Bakhmut for their courage, resilience and strength and presented state awards to the service members.
In a comment to journalists, Zelenskyy said that he had decided to visit Bakhmut since “Ukrainian soldiers are protecting our lives, and we must at least sometimes risk our own (lives) to support our guys.”
“I think it’s fair,” the president added.
The president and all those present honored the memory of fallen Ukrainian soldiers with a moment of silence.
“Bakhmut Fortress. Our people. Unconquered by the enemy. Who with their bravery prove that we will endure and will not give up what’s ours,” Zelenskyy wrote on Facebook.
“Ukraine is proud of you. I’m proud of you! Thank you for the courage, resilience and strength shown in repelling the enemy attacks.”
As a sign of gratitude for the weapons handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the service members defending Bakhmut handed over a Ukrainian flag signed by them to the U.S. Congress, asking that Zelenskyy pass it on.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister of Hanna Malyar and presidential chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak accompanied Zelesnkyy on his trip.
Zelenskyy was reported to have already left the frontline hotspot prior to the news of his visit being revealed to the public.
This has become Zelenskyy’s second trip to the Donbas in recent weeks: on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Dec. 6, he visited eastern Ukraine, where he also presented state awards and gifts to the Ukrainian military.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News