Zelensky visits just recaptured Izhum: “Our flag has been raised again”

The Ukrainian flags fly again over the Ukrainian city of Izhum, southeast of Kharkov. With a surprise visit to the liberated city, Ukrainian President Zelensky commemorated the rapid advance of his forces in the east of the country this afternoon. Between the blackened buildings and the streets destroyed by missile impacts, he sang the national anthem.

This is a shocking sight, Zelensky told journalists who, like him, had come to the city to record the damage in the area occupied by Russia for almost six months. But I am not shocked by this. We‘ve also seen these images in Butsja, in the first liberated areas: the same destroyed buildings and killed people.

Our blue and yellow flag has been raised again in liberated Izhum and that will happen in all other Ukrainian cities and towns. We are only moving one way: towards victory, says Zelensky, surrounded by burnt out armored vehicles bearing the letter Z.

Hell of a time

The Ukrainian president, along with the other attendees, held a minute’s silence for the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the fighting in the east of the country. Ukrainian soldiers are now trying to remove the abandoned landmines and secure evidence of possible war crimes. To date, six bodies with traces of torture have been found in the region.

Izhum residents told international media that they had been through a long time and that they were tired. They were also concerned about the coming winter and Russia‘s continued threat. It’s about surviving. There is no light, no gas, no water. We cook on campfires, that‘s how we live, a 43-year-old mother told Reuters news agency. The important thing is that the children are alive.

We survived this for six months, said another woman, a 74-year-old woman. We sat in our cellars and we went through everything that happened to us. There’s absolutely no way we can say that we feel safe right now.

Lugansk

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army continues to advance towards the Lugansk province. The Russian side also confirms that Ukrainians are making progress there. In some places, the front is coming very close to the borders of the Lugansk People‘s Republic, a Russian-backed officer of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic said on Russian state television.