Ukraine: President Zelensky continues his tour of the regions recaptured from the Russians | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine: President Zelensky continues his tour of the regions recaptured from the Russians | War in Ukraine

This visit follows those he made in recent days in the regions of Kherson, Kharkiv, Bakhmout, Donetsk and Zaporizhia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky meets military and civilians during a visit to Trostianets railway station in the Sumy border region of Russia.

The Ukrainian president visited the Sumy region in northern Ukraine on Tuesday, continuing the tour he has been carrying out for the past few days in the regions of the country which have suffered the full brunt the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, the ground looks increasingly ripe for a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Volodymyr Zelensky met with officials and residents of two towns in this region bordering Russia . It was partially occupied by Russian forces after the war started more than a year ago. The Russians withdrew from the area at the beginning of last April.

The Associated Press had exclusive access to Mr. Zelensky's visit to towns in the Sumy region of Okhtyrka, which suffered heavy fighting last year but never was occupied, and in Trostianets, held by the Russians for a month after the invasion but liberated by Ukrainian forces on March 26, 2022.

The city of Trostianets, like several other Ukrainian cities, was largely destroyed. (File photo)

Mr. Zelensky's trip follows visits he has made over the past seven days to the Kherson and Kharkiv regions, parts of which were retaken from Kremlin forces last year, in the intensely contested area near Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region and Zaporizhia in the south of the country.

Also on Tuesday, at least three civilians were killed and 43 others wounded by latest Russian drone, hover bomb and heavy artillery attacks, Ukraine's presidential office said.

In the eastern region of Donetsk, Russian shelling hit 12 towns and villages, killing two and injuring 34. Russian fire also targeted the southern city of Kherson, where five people were injured. In Bilopillia, Sumy region, a Russian strike damaged a school and an apartment building.

Speaking to a crowd of people in a square of Okhtyrka, Mr. Zelensky promised that this battle-scarred city would be rebuilt.

“We will not leave any wounds on the body of our state.

—Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

In Trostianets, he paid his respects to soldiers at the local train station, where Ukrainian authorities say the Russians tortured prisoners. He also met the Ukrainian Minister of Reconstruction, Oleksandr Kubrakov.

President Volodymyr Zelensky took advantage of his visit to honor soldiers, in particular this young woman.

Many buildings in the city were damaged or destroyed by the war. Walls are crumbling and roofs are shattered.

Expectations of a Ukrainian push against Russian positions are rising as the weather improves and that the weapons supplied by the West to Kiev are coming.

Germany said late Monday that it had delivered the 18 Leopard 2 tanks it had promised to Ukraine. The United Kingdom, Poland, Canada and Norway also delivered the announced tanks.

Eighteen Leopard 2 tanks like this one have been delivered to Ukraine, Germany announced on Monday. (File photo)

Russia has continued its long-range bombardment of Ukrainian areas, but its nighttime attacks with Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones cause little damage.

Ukrainian military shot down 14 out of 15 Shahed drones fired by Russia late Monday, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Kyiv Regional Military Administration said debris from a downed drone hit an administrative building in the Svyatoshyne district in the west of the capital, causing a fire. There were no casualties.

Dnipropetrovsk region governor Serhii Lysak said the Ukrainian army shot down two drones during the night but another hit a private industrial facility in the city of Dnipro and caused a fire that burned for a few hours.

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