Zelensky visits wounded soldiers in hospital to hand out medals and make them ‘Heroes of Ukraine’

The Ukrainian president awarded the soldiers for valour and wished them a quick recovery

Lamiat Sabin
Sunday 13 March 2022 23:28 GMT
President Zelensky visits wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the hospital

More than 100 soldiers injured or killed in Ukraine have been awarded medals by Volodymyr Zelensky for their bravery.

The Ukrainian president visited a military hospital in the Kyiv region on Sunday to honour the 106 servicemen – 17 posthumously – with the title ‘Heroes of Ukraine’.

He gave the soldiers medals to boost morale while they recover from injuries sustained while fighting Russia’s troops.

Hutsul Volodymyr Olesksandrovych, a senior lieutenant, was one of the men awarded the title and a medal.

He was commemorated for destroying 25 units of Russian military equipment and killing about 300 invading soldiers.

In photos, Mr Zelensky is seen talking and taking selfies with soldiers, and speaking with hospital staff.

The president also wore scrubs and a mask to speak to at least one soldier who appears to have sustained more serious injuries than the other wounded troops, as photos show him linked to monitors and nasal tubes.

Mr Zelensky said: “Guys, get well soon. I believe that the best gift for your statement will be our common victory!”

This is according to an English translation of a tweet posted by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky also honoured the hospital staff for their work in difficult conditions amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion launched on 24 February.

Pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia in the Donetsk region

At least 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have died defending the country against Russia, Mr Zelensky said on Saturday.

Several hundred Russian soldiers have died, according to the Kremlin earlier this week – although Ukraine claims this figure stretches into the thousands.

Mr Zelensky has encouraged Ukrainian men who have remained in the country to keep up the defence as Russian forces continue attempts to capture Kyiv.

Mariupol has seen more than 1,500 civilians die, according to its city hall. The attacks have been so frequent that the digging of mass graves and burials had to be paused.

Mass graves being filled with bodies in Mariupol

A children’s and maternity hospital in the city was also shelled. People – including a number of women in labour – were injured and forced to flee. The attack was condemned as genocide by the Ukrainian government.

Mr Zelensky has said in a video address: “They are bombing [Mariupol] 24 hours a day, launching missiles. It is hatred. They kill children.”

He also said: “The fact that the whole Ukrainian people resist these invaders has already gone down in history, but we do not have the right to let up our defence, no matter how difficult it may be for us.”

Mariana Vishegirskaya, who survived the Mariupol hospital attack, gave birth to a girl

Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that Russian forces captured Mariupol’s eastern outskirts, tightening their grip on the strategic Black Sea port city.

Mr Zelensky also accused Russia of employing “a new stage of terror” with the alleged kidnappings of two mayors.

Russian troops were accused of kidnapping Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov off the streets on Friday, before installing the Kremlin’s choice Galina Danilchenko.

CCTV image appears to show Russian forces capturing Ivan Fedorov

Invaders were also accused of capturing Yevhen Matveyev in Dniprorudne – a town he represents – in the Zaporizhzhia region, at 8.30am on Sunday.

Kherson, in the south of Ukraine, is effectively under the control of the Russian National Guard.

Civilians have taken to the streets to protest the takeovers, while some activists have disappeared or been imprisoned.

Meanwhile, the United Nations estimated that more than 2.5 million people – mainly women and children – have fled as refugees.

Mr Zelensky has urged his Nato allies to send Ukraine more fighter jets, as they have refused his repeated demands for a no-fly zone in fear of the west sparking a global war with Russia.

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