Zelenskyy meets soldiers on frontlines as fierce battle continues

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited the frontlines to meet soldiers engaged in counteroffensives against Russian forces.

The presidential office said on Monday that Zelenskyy visited the eastern region of Donetsk and the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

A video uploaded on Tuesday shows he and Army commander Oleksandr Syrskyi at a frontline near the battleground city of Bakhmut in Donetsk.

Zelenskyy told soldiers that "I am honored to be here today and thank you from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people, for your strength, for defending our country and our borders."

On Monday, Ukrainian deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar posted on social media that 47 square kilometers of land had been freed around Bakhmut.

She said offensives are continuing in the direction of Melitopol, a key city in Zaporizhzhia where Ukrainians claim to have breached Russia's first defense line.

She added that Russian troops are suffering significant losses.

Meanwhile, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said at a conference with ministry staff on Tuesday that the Ukrainian military failed to achieve its goals in all areas.

He argued that the Ukrainian side has lost 66,000 personnel and 7,600 units of weaponry since its counteroffensive began.

He added that the situation is most tense on the frontlines in Zaporizhzhia, and disclosed that the military has deployed units including the elite 76th Guards Air Assault Division.