May 29 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops on the front lines in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Sunday, his first official appearance outside the Kyiv region since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
“You are risking your life for all of us and for our country,” the President’s Office website quoted him as telling the soldiers, adding that he presented commendations and gifts.
Zelenskyy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote in the Telegram app that the president also visited Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv.
Yermak said Zelenskyy inspected destroyed residential buildings and found that their replacements had to be built with bomb shelters.
The president’s chief of staff added that 31% of the territory of the Kharkiv region is currently occupied by Russia and another 5% has been recaptured by Ukraine after being previously occupied.
Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Max Hunder; Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Nick Macfie
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.