President volodymyr zelensky visited troops in the eastern donetsk region on tuesday, which russia claims as its own after a sham referendum. the area, particularly around the town of bakhmut, has become the main focus of fighting after ukraine’s forces retook kherson in the south last month. russia and its proxies have been in control of parts of donetsk since 2014.
President’s visit happened on tuesday and the area of focus was around the town of bakhmut, which is located in the eastern donetsk region. president zelensky called it the “most difficult area that protects not only the east, but our entire state”. british intelligence believes that russia’s efforts there are being led by the private military contractor, wagner group.
Battle for bakhmut has been compared to fighting during world war one due to the trenches, charred trees and mud that have become a feature of the landscape. president zelensky praised troops for their courage and endurance in a video filmed in the city of sloviansk, about 45km (28 miles) north-west of bakhmut. it’s thought both sides have suffered heavy losses in the area. the president’s visit came a day after explosions hit two airfields deep inside russia, which moscow blamed on ukrainian drones. another explosion on tuesday close to an airfield in the kursk region, which borders ukraine, was also blamed on kyiv. russian president vladimir putin later met with top officials to discuss “domestic security”, but no other details were given.