Zelensky cancels trips outside Ukraine amid new Russian offensive

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has canceled trips outside of Ukraine for now, as Russia presses forward in a major new offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Zelensky’s press secretary, Sergii Nykyforov, said in a post on Facebook that Ukraine “gave instructions to postpone all international events for his participation, scheduled for the coming days, and to work out new dates.”

Zelensky had been scheduled to visit Spain and Portugal later this week, but Ukraine is under immense pressure as Russian forces assault the Kharkiv region.

The offensive, which began last Friday, saw Russian troops roll into the region from Russia’s neighboring Belgorod region. Russia has since captured several villages, forcing the evacuation of thousands of civilians.

A key battle is also underway in Vovchansk, after Russian forces entered the northern part of the town, which lies north of the city of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine.

While Russia does not appear to have the troops to take the city, Moscow could endanger supply lines and surround the city itself, while also stretching Ukrainian troops thin as they fend off the attacks across the eastern front.

Any major success for the Kremlin would eventually threaten the capitol of Kyiv for the first time since Russian invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Zelensky recently spoke with his top commanders and is getting regular briefings from Col. Gen. Oleksandyr Syrskyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The Ukrainian leader has prioritized international trips throughout the war as he seeks to shore up support. In Spain, he was scheduled to meet with King Felipe and sign a bilateral security agreement.

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