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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday visited the east Ukraine city of Izyum, the military said, one of the largest cities recently recaptured from Russia by Kyiv’s army in a lightning counter-offensive. Ukraine has set its sights on freeing all territory occupied by invading Russian forces after driving them back in a speedy counter-offensive in the northeast. Read FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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2:14pm: Zelensky vows ‘victory’ on frontline visit to liberated Kharkiv region

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday promised “victory” on a visit to the strategic city of Izyum that was recently recaptured from Russia by Kyiv’s army in a lightning counter-offensive.

The visit comes at a decisive moment in Russia’s six-month invasion, with Ukraine routing Moscow’s forces from swathes of the east and seriously undermining the Kremlin’s ambitions to capture the entire Donbas region of Ukraine.

“Our blue-yellow flag is already flying in deoccupied Izyum. And it will be so in every Ukrainian city and village,” Zelensky said in a statement on social media.

“We are moving in only one direction — forward and towards victory.” 

Pictures distributed by his office showed the Ukrainian leader wearing dark-green and flanked by guards as he took selfies with soldiers and thanked troops at a flag-rising ceremony.

1:38pm: EU chief von der Leyen to visit Ukraine to stress support

European Union Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen announced a surprise visit to Kyiv later Wednesday to show the bloc’s support for Ukraine as it fights back against the Russian invasion.

Dressed in Ukraine’s colours, von der Leyen said in her State of the European Union address that the bloc would come to Ukraine’s aid by opening its seamless single market more to Ukrainian products and said she would “discuss all this with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky”.

The EU has already committed billions in aid to Ukraine since the February 24 Russian invasion. Von der Leyen announced Wednesday that the bloc will provide €100 million to build up schools destroyed during the invasion.

1:15pm: Zelensky visits recaptured hub of Izyum in east Ukraine, says army

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday visited the east Ukraine city of Izyum, the military said, one of the largest cities recently recaptured from Russia by Kyiv’s army in a lightning counter-offensive.

The Ukrainian military in a statement on social media said Zelensky and military officials “took part” in a ceremony raising the Ukrainian flag over the captured city which was key for Russia’s ambitions to capture the Donbas region.

5:34am: Biden says Ukraine has made progress

Ukraine has made significant progress as it pushes back Russian forces but it is not possible to tell if the war is at a turning point, US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

Asked whether Ukraine has reached a turning point in the war, he said: “The question is unanswerable. It’s hard to tell. It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress. But I think it’s going to be a long haul.”

12:37am: Ukraine is in full control of more than 4,000 square km recaptured from Russia

Ukraine is in full control of more than 4,000 square km (1,500 square miles) of territory recaptured from Russian forces and is stabilising another 4,000 square km, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Tuesday.

On Monday he said Ukraine had retaken 6,000 square km in its recent counter-offensive. Ukrainian officials, though, say it is important to make a distinction between taking territory and ensuring it is totally safe.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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