Ukraine's Zelensky hails 'superhuman' troops in visit to frontline city

Ukraine's President has continued to publicly show his support for those on the front lines.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky awards a service member at a position near a frontline on the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine December 6, 2022. (photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky awards a service member at a position near a frontline on the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine December 6, 2022.
(photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops in the frontline city of Bakhmut on Tuesday and hailed their "superhuman" fighting in one of the main hotspots of the war in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy's office released video footage showing the president, dressed in khaki, handing out medals to soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine.

"Bakhmut Fortress. Our people. Unconquered by the enemy. Who with their bravery proves that we will endure and will not give up what’s ours," Zelenskyy said in comments posted on the Telegram messaging app under photographs of him in Bakhmut.

"Ukraine is proud of you. I am proud of you! Thank you for the courage, resilience, and strength shown in repelling the enemy attacks."

A long, arduous battle

The battle for Bakhmut has been long and hard. Control of the city, with a pre-war population of 70,000-80,000, could give Russia a stepping stone to advance on bigger Ukrainian cities but Ukrainian forces have held on to Bakhmut.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends an award ceremony of a battle banner to one of Army brigades in the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 6, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends an award ceremony of a battle banner to one of Army brigades in the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 6, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

"The East is holding out because Bakhmut is fighting," Zelenskyy wrote separately in a separate message on Telegram. "In fierce battles and at the cost of many lives, freedom is being defended here for all of us."

"Bakhmut defenders deserve our maximum support and our highest gratitude. That's why I am with them today," he wrote. "They are superhumans. They are our strength and our heroes."