Zelensky Visits Liberated City of Izium
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the recently-liberated city of Izium, in the Kharkiv region Wednesday.
Ukrainian troops recaptured the city from Russian occupation as part of the latest counteroffensive effort that has pushed Russian forces back towards the border.
The president said visiting liberated territories is a “very emotional moment.”
“This means that together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, life is coming back,” he said, according to a statement from the president’s office.
Zelensky had his hand over his heart as the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was raised and the national anthem was sung.
“Earlier, when we looked up, we always looked for the blue sky, the sun,” he said. “And today, looking up, we and especially the people in the temporarily occupied territories are looking for only one thing – the flag of our state. It means that the heroes are here. It means that the enemy is gone, ran away.”
The president thanked his troops for “saving our people, out hearts, children and future.” Zelensky presented state awards to the servicemen.
“I want to thank you for your service, for liberating the temporarily occupied territories,” he said. “Thank you for protecting the most important thing we have – Ukraine, our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He also told the “heroic” soldiers to take care of themselves and their families.
“Children and grandchildren will never forget your feat,” the president noted.
Zelensky said the Russian occupation will be short-lived.
“Probably, it is possible to temporarily occupy the territories of our state,” he said. “But it is definitely impossible to occupy our people, the Ukrainian people.”
Zelensky noted the scene in Izium is “shocking.”
“What we see is shocking, although we have already seen this in Bucha, in the first de-occupied territories,” he said, noting destroyed buildings and dead civilians.
“Unfortunately, this is part of our history today. And this is part of the modern Russian nation – what they did,” he added.
Zelensky promised the Office of the Prosecutor General is working to investigate all possible war crimes.
“And then, I am sure, there will be verdicts for all this, there will be a tribunal. I don’t doubt it for a second,” he said.