Zelensky visits liberated city of Izyum
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the liberated city of Izyum in northeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, participating in a flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Ukrainian forces retaking the city from Russia.
Zelensky’s office said in the announcement of his visit that the ceremony took place in the central square of the city in the presence of Ukrainian soldiers. The Ukrainian national anthem played while the flag was raised.
Zelensky thanked those in attendance for saving “our people, our hearts, children and future.”
“The last few months have been extremely difficult for you. Therefore, I am asking you: take care of yourself, you are the most precious we have,” he said.
Zelensky said it is possible to temporarily occupy certain territories of Ukraine, but not its people.
“Earlier, when we looked up, we always looked for the blue sky, the sun. And today, looking up, we and especially the people in the temporarily occupied territories are looking for only one thing — the flag of our state,” he said. “It means that the heroes are here. It means that the enemy is gone, ran away.”
Those present as the ceremony held a moment of silence for those who died defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion.
Zelensky also spoke briefly with Izyum Mayor Valerii Marchenko about the city’s status.
Ukraine regained control of Izyum over the weekend as part of a major counteroffensive the country launched that has seen Ukrainian forces liberate more than 2,000 square kilometers of territory that Russia has captured since the war began in February. Russia took control of Izyum in March, about one month into the conflict.