On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to the liberated city of Izyum in northeastern Ukraine and took part in a ceremony to raise the Ukrainian flag in celebration of the country's soldiers taking the city back from Russia.
In the press release announcing his visit, Zelensky's office stated that the ceremony was held in the city's main square with Ukrainian soldiers present. The flag was raised as the Ukrainian national song played.
Zelensky expressed gratitude to all present for protecting "our people, our hearts, our children, and our future."
"Your recent months have been incredibly challenging. You are the most valuable thing we have, so I'm begging you to take care of yourself," he stated.
"In the past, we always searched for the sun and the blue sky as we gazed up. And today, when we gaze up, the people in the temporarily occupied regions in particular, are only searching for one thing: the flag of our nation, he remarked. It indicates that the heroes have arrived. It indicates that the adversary has fled.
The ceremony attendees observed a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives protecting Ukraine against Russian invasion.
Izyum was recaptured by Ukraine over the weekend as part of a significant counteroffensive that was undertaken by the nation. Since the war's start in February, Russia has been occupying more than 2,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian land. About a month into the fighting, in March, Russia seized control of Izyum.