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Ukraine War: Zelenskyy visits Sumy region one year after Russian troops withdraw

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses for a photo with military personnel, police officers and civilians during a visit to Okhtyrka in the Sumy region of Ukraine, Mar 28 2023
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses for a photo with military personnel, police officers and civilians during a visit to Okhtyrka in the Sumy region of Ukraine, Mar 28 2023 Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
By Euronews with AP
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Ukraine War: Zelenskyy visits Sumy region, one year after Russian troops withdraw. It's the nearest Ukraine's president has been to the border with Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited the northeastern Sumy region to mark the anniversary of its recapture from Russian troops.

It's the nearest Ukraine's president has been to the border with Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

The Sumy region was briefly occupied by Russian forces at the start of the war. But Russians withdrew from the region by early April 2022.  In those early few weeks, several towns became the focus of fierce battles.

It's the latest stop in Zelenskyy's tour of the country. In the past seven days, he has visited the Kherson and Kharkiv regions, as well as Bahkmut in the Donetsk region and Zaporizhzhia. 

Addressing a crowd on a square in Okhtyrka, Zelenskyy promised that the battle-scarred city would be rebuilt.

“We won’t let any wound remain on the body of our state,” he said.

Russian forces are continuing to shell

Elsewhere, Russian troops continue to wreak havoc. They hit the town of Bilopillia in the Sumy Oblast on Tuesday morning damaging a school and an apartment building.

On the diplomatic front, Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has taken part in a virtual session at the US-led Summit for Democracy.

"No other nation wants peace more than Ukraine," he said. "But peace at any cost is an illusion. For peace to be a lasting one, it needs to be just. The cessation of Russia’s aggression and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity are essential conditions for peace." 

An end to the conflict remains a long way off. 

Moscow says it's willing to talk peace but stresses security concerns come first.

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