Zelensky and Putin both visit troops on Ukrainian frontline
Both leaders ventured to the East of Ukraine to address their frontline troops.
As the war in Ukraine enters its 15th month, both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russia's Vladimir Putin made trips to opposing sides of the frontline in the nation's east.
President Zelensky travelled to the small city of Avdiivka, which was one of the main targets of Russia's winter counter-offensive which aimed at reinvigorating a stagnating invasion.
In footage released by Mr. Zelensky's office, the politician can be seen addressing troops in his customary outfit of combat-inspired gear.
"I wish you only victory- this is what I wish for every Ukrainian, this is what is very important to all of us", declared the Ukrainian President.
The visit to Eastern Ukraine comes before what many military observers believe to be a Ukrainian counter-offensive, with fierce battles already underway throughout the region.
Evidence of the scale of destruction in the region was also evident in the footage released by Mr. Zelensky's office, which showed destroyed residential buildings and the ruins in which Avdiivka's remaining 1,800 inhabitants survive amongst.
President Zelensky: "Avdiivka. Frontline positions of Ukrainian defenders. I am honored to be here today. Next to the marines, soldiers of airborne assault, mechanized and artillery units. Next to our heroes." pic.twitter.com/VtS19kaqXO
— Dénes Törteli 🇪🇺🇭🇺🇺🇦 (@DenesTorteli) April 18, 2023
In an apparent visit of his own to the region, the Kremlin announced on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had visited the Kherson and Luhansk areas of Eastern Ukraine.
Meeting military commanders, the visit was Mr. Putin's first since Russia's annexation of the region back in September of last year.
"It is important for me to hear your opinion on the situation, to listen to you and to exchange information", the Russian President said in a video message made available by the Kremlin. Mr. Putin went on to wish the Russian troops a happy Orthodox Easter.
Kherson and Luhansk are two of the four regions annexed by Russia since the outbreak of the war, although Ukraine and its Western allies have pushed back the Russian advancement, resulting in Mr. Putin's forces only partly holding control of the regions.
More International condemnation came today from the G7 meeting in Japan, in which Russia's plans to station nuclear weapons in Belarus were branded as "unacceptable".
"Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are unacceptable", the group of Foreign Ministers stated, before adding "any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences".
This latest denunciation of Russia's actions in Ukraine comes after the UN's statement last week which said that the organisation believes the actual civilian death toll is "considerably higher" than the official figure of 8,500 people.
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