Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited wounded soldiers who were recovering in a Kyiv hospital, awarding medals for courage and taking photos with them even as the war raged on, creeping closer and closer to Kyiv.
Army reporter Steve Beynon shared video of Zelensky on Sunday that showed him visiting with several soldiers, shaking hands and taking photos.
“Ukraine President Zelenskyy visiting his wounded troops and awarding medals — video from Ukraine officials,” Beynon tweeted along with the video.
Ukraine President Zelenskyy visiting his wounded troops and awarding medals — video from Ukraine officials pic.twitter.com/RthwscxX7P
— Steve Beynon (@StevenBeynon) March 13, 2022
Buzzfeed News correspondent Christopher Miller shared a longer video showing Zelensky, surrounded by officials, walking through the streets of Kyiv to the hospital and then greeting employees before he spoke to the soldiers individually. After speaking with several of the wounded and taking a few photos, he presented them with awards.
President Zelensky walked to a hospital today to visit wounded Ukrainian soldiers and award them with state honors for their sacrifices. pic.twitter.com/LI0JScdkX7
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 13, 2022
The official Defense Ministry of Ukraine shared photos as well, along with a statement from Zelensky: “I believe that the best gift for your statement will be our common victory.”
Президент України Володимир Зеленський відвідав у госпіталі поранених захисників України 🇺🇦
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) March 13, 2022
Russian occupation forces are expected to move on the capital city of Kyiv in the coming days, but President Zelensky has repeatedly said that Ukraine will not surrender. He gave a video address on Saturday, saying, “The Russian invaders cannot conquer us. They do not have such strength. They do not have such spirit.”
He added that when Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine, he had only doomed his own country. Russia, he said, was fast becoming a “large area isolated from the rest of the world. Where poverty will reign. Where everything will be determined only by violence.”
According to the Kyiv Independent, Zelensky has also awarded a posthumous “Hero of Ukraine” award to field medic Sergeant Inna Derusova, the first woman to ever receive that award.
“Zelensky: Sergeant Inna Derusova is the first woman to be awarded the Hero of Ukraine title posthumously. A field medic, she was killed during the artillery attack on Okhtyrka on Feb. 24, the first day of Russia’s invasion. She saved more than 10 soldiers that day,” a tweet from the outlet read.
⚡️Zelensky: Sergeant Inna Derusova is the first woman to be awarded the Hero of Ukraine title posthumously.
A field medic, she was killed during the artillery attack on Okhtyrka on Feb. 24, the first day of Russia's invasion. She saved more than 10 soldiers that day.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 12, 2022
As the Russian occupation forces close in on Kyiv, officials in both Ukraine and the United States had expressed concerns that Putin will resort to using chemical or biological attacks in his effort to crush Ukraine.
Mayor of Kyiv says he's worried about potential Russian chemical or biological attack on Ukraine https://t.co/4jNWZ85ycN
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 13, 2022
Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland raised red flags when she told Senator Marco Rubio in a hearing that officials were concerned that the Russians could gain control of “biological research facilities” in Ukraine, noting that if chemical or biological agents were used, she had no doubt that it would be the Russians who deployed them.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the possibility of a chemical attack during a press briefing late last week, but told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that President Joe Biden remained firm in his resolve not to involve American troops on the ground in Ukraine.
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