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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy visits border with Belarus and Poland

ukraine's president zelenskiy visits the border with belarus in volyn region
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards a member of the State Border Guard Service as he visits the border with Belarus, in Volyn region, Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy inspected the frontier with Belarus and Poland on Wednesday, and thanked border guards for their defence of the country since Russia’s invasion.

The president posted video footage on the Telegram messaging app that showed him meeting border guards in woodland with barbed-wire fencing beside a river in the Volyn region of northwestern Ukraine.

“It is an honour for me to be here today to thank our border guards for protecting the state border,” Zelenskiy wrote under the footage, which also showed him addressing the border guards and handing out awards.

“For the protection of our state in Bakhmut. I know how firmly you stood there, holding Bakhmut,” he said, referring to the eastern Ukrainian city where fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has been intense for months.

Zelenskiy said after discussing border protection measures at a meeting in January that Ukraine must “be ready” at the frontier with Belarus even though Kyiv did not see “anything powerful” there apart from statements.

Russia used Belarus as a launchpad for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, and President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia would station tactical nuclear weapons on its close ally’s territory.

In a separate post on Wednesday, Zelenskiy said he had discussed security and socio-economic issues with political and military leaders in the Volyn region.

Zelenskiy has travelled widely in recent weeks. On Tuesday he met troops in the eastern city of Avdiivka, where fighting has also been fierce as Ukraine prepares for an expected counteroffensive to try to win back Russian-occupied territory.

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