Rallying the Troops

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently made a rare trip from Kyiv and visited troops in the Mykolaiv region of his nation. This is considered to be one of the front lines in their war against Russian aggression. He did not announce exactly when the trip occurred, but earlier today, he posted photos of himself handing out medals to brave men and women. He posted the pics on his official Telegram page, a must-read for those of you closely following the war in Ukraine.

A Physician stops to take a selfie with the popular President during his trip to a hospital in the Mykolaiv region. Image Credit: @V_Zelenskiy_official/Telegram

In a video posted on Telegram, he tells his warfighters:

“We will definitely hold out! We will definitely win! Our brave men. Each of them is working flat out.” 

In addition to meeting with military personnel, Zelensky visited a local hospital and spoke with medical staffers concerning their issues. While there, he also met with local officials concerning the water supply, farming, and ways to boost the local economy.

Wondering where Mykolaiv was located? I was too. It is both a city and a municipality and is one of the main shipbuilding centers of the Black Sea. As you can see, it is quite a distance from the capital of Kyiv. Image Credit: worldeasyguides.com

Holding the Coastline

Mykolaiv is a city of almost half a million people and has been on the front lines of the war with Russia since March. It’s a strategic point in halting the Russian advance of troops on their way to the Black Sea port of Odessa. Russian officials have made it clear that it is their aim to take complete control of the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. While they have made some progress in the east, they have not had the same successes in the areas around the Black Sea.

Russia made its play for Ukraine’s coastline months ago, resulting in a standoff that has caused a global food crisis as grain to be exported must remain in Ukrainian holding facilities.

Mr. Zelensky examining damage in the Mykolaiv region. Consistent with his style, he conducted a walking tour with armed security rather than barricading himself in an armored limousine. Image Credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office

In the city of Odessa, the President presented awards to officials in the Ministry of Affairs, praising them for their heroic service and telling them that their survival was paramount to Ukraine’s success. He told them, “It is important that you are alive. As long as you live, there is a strong Ukrainian wall that protects our country.”

As he tours the south, Zelensky remains painfully aware that brutal fighting continues in the Donbas region, where hundreds of civilians remain holed up in a chemical plant in the strategically important city of Sievierodonetsk. It’s hard to get exact numbers of how many Ukrainian fighters remain in that besieged city, but fears are that as Russia continues with ground assaults and artillery strikes, it could eventually turn into another Mariupol where hundreds of Ukrainian fighters were forced to surrender.