| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy visits border with Belarus and Poland

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the country’s borders with Belarus and Poland and congratulated the border guards for defending it ever since Russia’s invasion.

The president shared video of a meeting with border guards in a wooded area with barbed-wire fencing next to a river in the Volyn region of northwest Ukraine on the Telegram messaging app.

“It is an honour for me to be here today to thank our border guards for protecting the state border,” Zelenskiy wrote under the footage, which also showed him addressing the border guards and handing out awards.

“For the protection of our state in Bakhmut. I know how firmly you stood there, holding Bakhmut,” he said, referring to the eastern Ukrainian city where fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has been intense for months.

Zelenskiy said after discussing border protection measures at a meeting in January that Ukraine must “be ready” at the frontier with Belarus even though Kyiv did not see “anything powerful” there apart from statements.

Russia used Belarus as a launchpad for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, and President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia would station tactical nuclear weapons on its close ally’s territory.

In a separate post on Wednesday, Zelenskiy said he had discussed security and socio-economic issues with political and military leaders in the Volyn region.

Zelenskiy has travelled widely in recent weeks. On Tuesday he met troops in the eastern city of Avdiivka, where fighting has also been fierce as Ukraine prepares for an expected counteroffensive to try to win back Russian-occupied territory.

  • Reuters