Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said “Ukraine will surely win” during a business trip to the southern city of Mykolaiv, as fighting continues in the east of the country.
The president distributed medals and took selfies with soldiers in what appeared to be an underground shelter, according to a video posted on his official Telegram account.
“Our brave men. Every one of them is working very hard,” he said. “We will definitely be waiting! We will definitely win.”
Russian troops reached the outskirts of Mykolaiv in early March, but then pushed to the eastern and southern edges of the region, where fierce fighting continues.
“The president inspected the building of the Regional State Administration in Mykolaiv, which was destroyed as a result of a missile attack by Russian forces,” Zelensky’s office said.
A Russian missile blew up a crater in the building in late March, killing 37 people.
Ukraine made slow gains in its goal of liberating Kherson, one of Ukraine’s most strategically important cities on the Black Sea, located less than 70 miles from Mykolaiv.
Ukrainian media reported, on Saturday morning, that a car explosion in Kherson injured the head of the prison, in what appears to be an attack carried out by Ukrainian supporters active in the occupied Russian territories.
There was an increase in Ukrainian partisan wars, particularly in the south of the country around Kherson.
Zelensky announced during his Friday night patriotic address that Russian forces had released the famous paramedic nicknamed “Tyra,” Yulia Bayevska, footage of which was smuggled from the besieged city of Mariupol by an Associated Press team, three months after she was taken captive there.
“I am grateful to everyone who worked towards this outcome. Taira is already at home. We will continue to work to free everyone,” he said.
Paievska relayed the clips to two Associated Press journalists who were the last international correspondents in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. One journalist managed to escape, hiding the clips in a tampon on 15 March. Paievska was taken hostage the next day.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense, in its latest intelligence briefing, said Russia was likely to have renewed its advances in eastern Ukraine, with the intention of penetrating deeper into the Donetsk region and encircling the enclave around the besieged city of Severodonetsk from the north.
Russia aims to completely capture Severodonetsk, a major city in its quest for complete control of the eastern Luhansk region.
More than 500 civilians, including 40 children, are believed to be trapped inside Azot Factory in the city. Weeks of Russia’s continuous bombing of Severodonetsk, including its industrial region, reduced much of the city to rubble.
The bombing of the nitrogen plant had a bloody echo earlier Siege of steel mills in Azovstal In the southern port of Mariupol, where hundreds of fighters and civilians have sheltered from Russian bombardment.
Britain also warned on Saturday that Russia would likely claim to justify understating the distinction between Ukrainian civilian and military targets in the region if civilians in Severodonetsk did not accept the Russian offer to evacuate through the existing corridors. Moscow has previously accused Ukraine of blocking plans to open a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave the region.
Evacuation plans to bring civilians from the Azot plant to Svatov, a city north of Severodonetsk controlled by pro-Russian forces.
The district governor said that during the night Russian shelling damaged the city hall and led to a fire in an apartment building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
Peace negotiations between the two countries have largely stalled as the fighting turned into A brutal war of attritionBoth sides indicated that returning to talks could be difficult.
On Saturday, the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, David Arachhamiya, said talks with Russia could resume in late August after Kyiv carried out “a series of counterattacks”.
Commenting on Arakhamiya’s remarks, Dmitry Medvedev, head of the Russian Security Council and ex-president, wrote on his Telegram page that by August “the question will be whether we will have someone to talk to”, in the latest series of statements by senior officials. Russian officials who questioned the state of Ukraine.