In a show of defiance, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has presented medals to soldiers battling to drive Russian forces back from the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut.
The city has been pounded by Russian artillery for months now, as they seek to counterbalance Ukrainian gains in the south and north-east with successes in the Donbas region.
But while Kyiv’s troops may be holding their ground, it’s a different story for the indling population, with many finally being forced to evacuate.
Far away from the frontline Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has also been handing out honours. In an address marking Security Agencies Day, Vladimir Putin acknowledged “extreme” difficulties afflicting Kremlin officials.
Among those receiving awards were the Moscow-installed leaders of the four Ukrainian regions occupied and annexed by Russia. Yet as the war grinds on none of these are fully under Moscow’s control.
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