President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bakhmut and gave Ukrainian soldiers honorary awards. The defenders of Bakhmut presented the President with a flag of gratitude for the Western partners who provided them with weapons.
This visit of the Ukrainian President is a blow to the reputation of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Ukrainian leader on the front line
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s frontline visit to Bakhmut on the 300th day of war is undermining an ongoing Kremlin information operation intended to present Russian President Vladimir Putin as an involved war leader, the ISW reported.
Zelensky traveled to the ravaged city of Bakhmut to hand out medals to the Ukrainian military as the thunder of artillery echoed in the distance.
Mr. Zelensky’s visit to Bakhmut drew attention away from Putin’s visit to Minsk. It showcased the Ukrainian leader’s defiance and tolerance for personal risk in a city so devastated by repeated Russian invaders’ assaults.
“The east is holding out because Bakhmut is fighting,” Mr. Zelensky said as he presented medals to Ukrainian soldiers. “This is the fortress of our morale. In fierce battles and at the cost of many lives, freedom is being defended for all of us.”
The Ukrainian President added that he had received a Ukrainian flag from the military, which the defenders asked to pass to those whose decisions are significant for Ukraine to give to Western partners. Zelensky promised to do so.
From the frontline, Zelensky travels to Washington
American media report that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will arrive in Washington and meet with US President Joe Biden.
Media say that Zelensky will address a joint session of Congress, citing unnamed US officials. If so, it would be President Zelenskiy’s first foreign visit since Russia invaded his country on February 24.
Zelensky might give Biden the flag with signatures of the Ukrainian military that he received in Bakhmut.
The United States is the biggest supporter of Ukraine in countering Russian aggression. Washington provides Kyiv with modern weapons.
CNN reported that the US might announce that it will provide Ukraine with the PATRIOT air defense system this week. Its aim is to repel Russian missile attacks on energy infrastructure.
Putin awarded fake Russian soldiers in a luxury hall
At the same time, Vladimir Putin staged a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin, where he gathered pro-war figures and propaganda leaders, but not real soldiers and officers who have fought in the war.
The Kremlin leader’s elaborate televised event was intended to show Russians and the world that he is determined to continue the war despite the high losses of the Russian invading forces.
The Institute for the Study of War notes that Russian nationalist forces have become even more critical of Putin after the Ukrainian President’s trip to the front line. The Russian leader, who only promised to visit the occupied territories, instead awarded people from his entourage who were not even directly involved in the war.
In particular, former militant commander and FSB officer Igor Girkin stressed that Putin gives awards to “his heroes in the Kremlin,” not to Russian soldiers who are dying on the front line in Ukraine. Military bloggers are also dissatisfied with the actions of the Russian President and criticize him for never visiting the war zone.
After all, Putin did not dare to meet with President Zelensky in these territories but sent his agent, Wagner PMC owner Evgeny Prigozhin.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to Bakhmut undermined the Kremlin’s information campaign portraying dictator Vladimir Putin as a direct commander in the war.
While the President of the Russian Federation meets fake soldiers in luxury halls, the President of Ukraine travels to the hottest spots in the war to support his soldiers and seeks ways to ask Western partners for more support for his army.