Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday made an unexpected trip to Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region where some of the bloodiest fighting is taking place. Zelensky spokesman Sergii Nykyforov said in a Facebook post the president had visited “the front positions of one of the mechanized brigades.” It was not immediately clear where exactly he visited. Photos posted to his Telegram account showed Zelensky shaking hands with soldiers and distributing medals. Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense, Hanna Maliar, also appeared to be in the city, according to images posted by the ministry on Telegram.
“The East is holding our because Bakhmut is fighting. This is the fortress of our morale,” Zelensky said in a Telegram post. “In fierce battles and at the cost of many lives, freedom is being defended here for all of us.”
Zelensky had singled out Bakhmut a day earlier, calling it “the hottest spot on the entire front line” with more than 800 miles of “active hostilities,” as he continued to appeal for more weapons. The battle for Bakhmut has stretched on for
In an address to mark Security Forces’ Day in Russia, President Vladimir Putin made a rare admission that conditions were “extremely difficult” in the four Ukrainian regions that Russia had illegally claimed to annex in September. “Yes, it is difficult for you now,” he said in a speech. “But the people living there, the citizens of Russia, are relying on you, on your protection. And it is your duty to do everything necessary to ensure their safety.”
Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
In patriotism push, Russians send handmade gifts to troops in Ukraine. In Magnitogorsk, a city near the Ural Mountains, Sergei Loza’s bakery collects wild hops to make sourdough rusks for soldiers, based on his grandmother’s recipe. Technical school students from Voronezh, in southwestern Russia, have made trench candles and welded chunky metal camp stoves.
Across Russia, people are sending handmade gifts to troops in Ukraine in a Kremlin-led effort to reverse declining support for the war and to spur a renewed wave of patriotic fervor, as Putin doubles down his long, expensive and bloody campaign to seize Ukrainian lands, write Robyn Dixon and Natalia Abbakumova.
“Russia has always won any war — if it became a people’s war,” Sergei Kiriyenko, Putin’s first deputy chief of staff, told a forum of school principals in October. “Every contribution to the victory is valuable.”
Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.