WORLD

Ukraine president extends tour of war’s front-line areas

Mar 28, 2023, 4:43 AM

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives at the train station in Trostianets in the Sumy reg...

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives at the train station in Trostianets in the Sumy region of Ukraine, Tuesday March 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

OKHTYRKA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president visited the Sumy region in northern Ukraine on Tuesday, continuing his tour over recent days of areas of the country that have felt the brunt of Russia’s full-scale invasion and as the stage increasingly looks set for a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with officials and local people in two cities in the region, which borders Russia. It was partially occupied by Russian forces after war started more than a year ago. The Russians withdrew from the region by early April.

The Associated Press was granted exclusive access as Zelenskyy visited the Sumy region cities of Okhtyrka, which saw fierce battles last year but was never occupied, and Trostianets, which was held by the Russians for a month after the invasion but liberated by Ukrainian forces on March 26, 2022.

Zelenskyy’s trip followed his visits over the past seven days to the Kherson and Kharkiv regions, parts of which were retaken last year from the Kremlin’s forces, to the intensely contested area near Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, and to Zaporizhzhia in the south.

Also Tuesday, at least three civilians were killed and 43 others were wounded by the latest Russian attacks involving drones, gliding bombs and heavy artillery, Ukraine’s presidential office said.

In the eastern Donetsk region, Russian shelling hit 12 towns and villages, killing two and wounding 34. The Russian shelling also targeted the southern city of Kherson, where five people were wounded. In Bilopillia in the Sumy region, a Russian strike damaged a school building and an apartment building.

Addressing a crowd of people on a square in Okhtyrka, Zelenskyy promised that the battle-scarred city would be rebuilt.

“We won’t let any wound remain on the body of our state,” he said.

In Trostianets, Zelenskyy honored soldiers at the local railway station, where Ukrainian authorities say the Russians tortured prisoners. He also met with Ukraine’s minister for reconstruction, Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Many buildings in the city are damaged or destroyed by the war, with crumbling walls and punctured roofs.

Trostianets resident Dmytro Zaiats told the AP that the president’s visit to the city meant a lot to him.

“It’s a symbol of unity and the iron will that brought the country together,” he said.

Expectations of a Ukrainian push against Russian positions are mounting as the weather improves and Western-supplied weapons for Kyiv arrive.

Germany said late Monday it has delivered the 18 Leopard II tanks it had promised to Ukraine. The United Kingdom, Poland, Canada and Norway have also delivered promised tanks.

Russia has kept up its long-range bombardment of Ukraine areas, but its nighttime attacks with Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones are causing little damage.

The Ukrainian military downed 14 of the 15 Shahed drones Russia fired late Monday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said.

The Kyiv regional military administration said that wreckage from downed drone hit an administrative building in the Sviatoshynskyi District in western part of the capital, causing a fire. There were no casualties.

The Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, Serhii Lysak, said that the Ukrainian military shot down two drones overnight, but another one hit a privately-owned industrial facility in the city of Dnipro and caused a fire that took hours to extinguish.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

World

FILE - Coco Gauff of the U.S. plays a shot against Poland's Iga Swiatek during their semifinal matc...

Associated Press

Coco Gauff to be female flag bearer for US team at Olympic opening ceremony, joining LeBron James

PARIS (AP) — Tennis star Coco Gauff will join LeBron James as a flag bearer for the US Olympic team at Friday’s opening ceremony. Gauff, the reigning US Open champion, is set to make her Olympic debut and will be the first tennis athlete to carry the US flag. She and James were chosen by […]

4 hours ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks about Salt Lake City's bid to host the 2034 Winter Olympics, during th...

Associated Press

IOC awards 2034 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. Utah last hosted the Olympics 32 years ago

PARIS (AP) — Salt Lake City will be an Olympics host again after the IOC formally awarded the 2034 Winter Games to the United States bid on Wednesday. The capital city of Utah was the only candidate since the International Olympic Committee gave Salt Lake City exclusive negotiating rights last year in the process that […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Simone Biles competes on the uneven bars at the United States Gymnastics Olympic Trials on S...

Associated Press

Biles, Richardson, Osaka comebacks ‘bigger than them.’ They highlight issues facing Black women

PARIS (AP) — When Naomi Osaka lifts her racket on the red clay courts at Roland Garros during the Paris Olympics later this month, it’ll represent more than a high-stakes competition for the tennis star. For Osaka, a four-time grand slam champion, it’s an important step in her journey after returning to tennis earlier this […]

5 hours ago

FILE -Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council speaks at a ceremony in ...

Associated Press

Sudan paramilitary leader plans to attend cease-fire talks in Switzerland hosted by US, Saudi Arabia

GENEVA (AP) — Sudan’s paramilitary leader has announced plans to attend cease-fire talks in Switzerland next month arranged by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces fighting Sudan’s army, expressed hope on social media late Tuesday that the talks would become “a major step” toward peace […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed after Wall Street breaks losing streak

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed Tuesday in Asia after U.S. stocks closed broadly higher, as Big Tech stocks took back some of their recent sharp declines. U.S. futures edged lower and oil prices were little changed. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed nearly unchanged, at 39,594.39. Chinese markets declined, with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Hamas and Fatah sign declaration in Beijing on ending yearslong rift, Chinese state media says

BEIJING (AP) — Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a declaration in Beijing on ending yearslong rift, state media said Tuesday, without providing further details. The two rival Palestinian groups met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, concluding talks that started Sunday.

1 day ago

Ukraine president extends tour of war’s front-line areas