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Zelenskiy visits troops near frontline city of Bakhmut

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President Volodymyr Zeleskiy visited Ukrainian troops near Bakhmut on Wednesday (22 March) and presented medals to those who he described as heroically defending the country's sovereignty.

The Ukrainian forces managed to hold out in Bakhmut for eight months despite suffering heavy casualties in one the most bloody battles since Russia’s full-scale invasion thirteen months ago.

Social media footage showed Zelenskiy in dark sweatshirt and military trousers handing out awards in combat gear to tired soldiers. It was in what appeared to have been a large warehouse.

"It is an honor to present awards to our heroes. Zelenskiy, under the video footage, wrote that he wanted to shake hands with them and express gratitude on Telegram.

Your fate is so tragic, but so important. He said, "To defend our land and return everything to Ukraine to our children." "I bow down before all the heroes and your close comrades that you lost in the east, as well as throughout this war," he said.

Zelenskiy depicted "Fortress Bakhmut", a symbol for defiance that is draining the Russian military dry, as Zelenskiy.

The battle for Bakhmut was fought in trenches using relentless artillery and rocket attacks across a heavily mined battlefield. Commanders from both sides described it as a "meat grinder".

Zelenskiy visited the frontline troops many times during World War II. The Wednesday visit came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Mariupol. This was his first visit to any Russian-occupied region of Ukraine's industrial Donbas since the war started. It was also the closest he's been to frontlines.

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Zelenskiy visited wounded soldiers in treatment on Wednesday. Zelenskiy shook hands with wounded soldiers, thanked them for their service, and presented some medals to them.

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