Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the newly recaptured city of Izyum on Wednesday, an appearance that underlined the stunning success of a counteroffensive against Russian forces in the northeast.
The visit appeared to belie claims from Moscow that parts of Izyum, which had been a critical staging post for Russian weapons and troops fighting in the eastern Donbas region, remained under Russian control. Zelenskyy took part in a ceremony to raise the Ukrainian flag, according to a statement on his website. “We’re moving in only one direction — forward and towards victory. ”
The loss of Izyum, whose pre-war population exceeded 45,000, as well as half of Kupyansk, a critical logistics hub on the way to the Russian border, may create a serious challenge for President Putin. Zelenskyy also said that Russia’s occupation of Crimea — annexed by Russia in 2014 — was a “tragedy” and promised that his forces would eventually recapture the peninsula.

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