Ukraine, Russian leaders greet students

Students in Ukraine and Russia have received special visitors to start their school terms. They welcomed in the leaders of their countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a school in Irpin on Thursday that, like thousands of others, was damaged in the fighting. It has since been renovated.

He spent some time with the younger students and told them to pay attention to their teachers.

The Ukrainian government now requires schools to have a bomb shelter on-site or a short distance away. However, nearly half do not, which means thousands of children must instead take classes remotely.

In Kaliningrad on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had his own message for students. He used a back-to-school ceremony to talk about the invasion of Ukraine, which he calls the "special military operation." He said people in "the territory of Ukraine" have begun to create an "anti-Russian enclave that threatens our country."

He said Russian troops are protecting both the residents of the Donbas region and defending Russia itself.

Putin has directed schools to hold flag-raising ceremonies. He says the flag is a symbol of Russians' determination to defend their interests. Some educators have already begun the ceremonies and say they will continue them every week.