Ukraine President Zelensky visits frontline in Kharkiv
Ukraine President Zelensky visits frontline in Kharkiv

KIEV:  During a working trip to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited frontline military positions, according to the presidential press service.

According to a statement on the Ukrainian presidential website, during his visit on Sunday, the President viewed devastated residential buildings in the city and heard updates on the situation in the region from the military and law enforcement authorities.

Zelensky stated that the Ukrainian government would endeavour to modernise the country's infrastructure, and that new residential structures in Ukraine will be fitted with bomb shelters. 

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, it was his first official excursion outside of Kyiv. He was pictured in a bullet-proof vest surveying ruins in the city of Kharkiv.

"I want to thank each of you for your service," Mr Zelensky addressed the soldiers. He later fired the city's security chief for failing to "protect" the city. After a fortnight of relative calm, Russia has started shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

In the early months of the war, the city - Ukraine's second-largest - was heavily bombarded, with images showing tower blocks reduced to rubble.  During April and May, Russian troops were progressively driven back from Kharkiv's surrounding towns, prompting some residents to return and the metro to reopen for the first time since the invasion. The city, however, remains inside Russian artillery range. Following Mr Zelensky's visit, the city heard several thunderous explosions.

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