The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, visited the Mykolaiv region on Saturday, on the war front with the Russian Army in the south of the country, in one of his first departures from the capital since the start of the war last February.
Zelensky also praised Brussels’ support for Ukraine’s candidacy for the European Union, “good news” for the country, while “fierce fighting” against Russian troops continued in the eastern Donbas region.
The European Commission led a powerful show of support on Friday by supporting Ukraine in its bid to receive the status of a candidate for the EU, a boost that could place the country on the bloc’s list of candidates, which will debate it at a summit next week.
The president spoke in Mykolaiv with local authorities about the problems of repairing infrastructure damaged by the conflict, such as the water supply network, according to a statement from the Ukrainian presidency.
He also discussed other logistical issues, such as difficulties with this year’s harvest, the availability of grain storage centers, the creation of new transportation routes, and the supply of machinery and fuel to farmers.
President Volodimir Zelenski, with local authorities, this Saturday on his tour of Mykolaiv. Photo: REUTERS
On the other hand, the military authorities of the region informed him about the threats by land, in particular from the nearby Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria, and by sea in the Black Sea.
The president also inspected the Mykolaiv regional administration building, hit on March 29 by a Russian missile that left 37 civilians dead, according to local authorities.
“It is important to decide now how to help the members of these families, we must not forget them,” Zelensky said of relatives of the attack victims.
Two weeks ago, the Ukrainian president left kyiv for the first time since the start of the war for a trip to Kharkov, in the northeast of the country, and since then he has also gone to the Zaporizhia region, on the southern front.
Mykolaiv, just 100 kilometers from occupied Kherson and on the way to the strategic port city of Odessa, had about half a million inhabitants before the war.
It has been the target of Russian attacks since the beginning of the invasion, the last of which left two dead and twenty wounded this Friday.
Heavy fighting in the east
On the ground, heavy fighting continued this Saturday in eastern Ukraine and devastated towns in the Donbas region, where huge areas were occupied by Russian troops.
“Now the fiercest battle is near Severodonetsk,” said Lugansk region governor Sergei Gaidai, who said Russian forces do not control the entire city.
Gaidai also reported “difficult” fighting in Toshkivska and Zolote and explained that the city of Lysychansk, neighboring Severodonetsk, separated by a river, is being “heavily shelled”.
A column of smoke rises over the remains of a building destroyed by Russia in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, in the Lugansk region, on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS
Gaidai reported further “destruction” at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where there are 568 refugees, including 38 children.
In Lysychansk, the inhabitants were preparing to flee.
“We are abandoning everything and leaving. No one can survive such an attack,” said teacher Alla Bor, who is waiting with her son-in-law Volodimir and her 14-year-old grandson.
“We left the house. We left food for our dog. It’s inhumane, but what else can you do?”
Source: AFP and EFE