Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a significant visit to the troops defending Avdiivka, a city in the Donetsk region currently besieged by Russian forces.
This visit, occurring today, December 29, comes amidst one of the hottest points of the frontline in the ongoing conflict.
Personal Acknowledgment and Support
Zelensky personally greeted the fighters, assessing the defensive situation and the essential needs of the troops alongside the commander.
He praised the resilience of these warriors, stating,
"Our country stands thanks to these warriors. Those who, despite all difficulties, defend our country."
His visit was accompanied by images showing him saluting soldiers and officers in an underground fortification and awarding them decorations.
The Strategic Importance of Avdiivka
Avdiivka has become a critical objective in the ongoing Russian offensive.
The Ukrainian army has transformed this industrial city in Donbas into a fortress since the first armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.
General Valeri Zaluzhnyi, the chief commander of the Ukrainian army, has promised to defend Avdiivka as long as possible while emphasizing the importance of saving soldiers' lives.
Zelensky's Address Amidst Russian Bombardment
Zelensky's visit coincided with the day Ukraine suffered the most intense Russian bombardment since the early days of the war.
Ukrainian targets in and around key cities like Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv were attacked with missiles and drones. Russia claimed the strikes were aimed at Ukrainian military-industrial installations, military airfields, ammunition depots, and positions of Ukrainian troops and foreign mercenaries.
In his address to the nation on the evening of December 29, Zelensky spoke about the aftermath of the massive aerial attack on Ukraine and emphasized the growing competitiveness and preparedness of Ukraine's defense industry for a modern, technological war, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.