President Zelensky visited Avdiivka, one of the hot spots in the Donetsk region, on Tuesday, April 18, to meet with Ukrainian defenders.
During the visit, he listened to a report from the commander of the Donetsk operational-tactical group regarding the situation in the area and spoke with servicemen from various units, thanking them for their service.
Zelensky also presented state awards to the soldiers, including the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, as well as other medals for courage. In return, the soldiers presented the President with a military coin, a badge, and a board with the symbols of the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also made a rare departure from Moscow and allegedly visited the annexed territories of the Kherson and Luhansk regions. This would mark the first time Putin has visited the region since Moscow illegally annexed them along with two other Ukrainian regions last year.
The initial Kremlin statement did not specify the exact date of the visit but mentioned that Putin wished the troops a happy Easter, which Orthodox Christians celebrated on Sunday, April 16.
However, later Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin’s trip took place after Easter, on Monday, April 17.
“It was yesterday. Indeed, when the president presented the icon, he said, ‘Easter is with us.’ But the fact is that Easter is celebrated for 40 days... This trip took place yesterday,” Peskov was reported as saying by Mayak radio.
A video published by Russia’s State media earlier showed a short section of the view from the front of a vehicle entering the port city of Henichesk in the Kherson region. Still, Putin was not visible in the footage.
#Russian news agency report that President Putin visited the "Dnepr" Headquarters of the Russian army in the Kherson area pic.twitter.com/RJzTqjbHau— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) April 18, 2023
Henichesk is known to have the southernmost airfield in the region and is about 40 kilometers from Russian-occupied Crimea, so it obviously can’t be considered the frontline city.
At the end of March, Putin also made a surprise nighttime trip to occupied Mariupol, the port city Moscow captured after a long siege last spring.
Putin chose the dead of night for his visit, touring the city and meeting residents in the early morning hours, allegedly for safety reasons.
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