Photos on the military unit’s Facebook page showed Zelensky at a ceremony in the main square to raise the Ukrainian flag over the city’s administration building. Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Maliar was also present.
“Before, when we looked up, we always looked for the blue sky. Today, when we look up, we look for only one thing – the flag of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a post on the presidential Telegram channel.
“Our blue and yellow flag is already flying in de-occupied Isium. It will be in every Ukrainian town and village. We are traveling in only one direction – forward and towards victory.
“I want to thank you for saving our people, our hearts, children and future,” Zelensky said, according to a statement posted on the president’s website.
“It has been very difficult for you in recent months. Therefore, I ask you to take care of yourself, because you are a valuable asset that we have,” he said.
“Temporary occupation of the territories of our state may be possible. But it is definitely impossible to invade the Ukrainian people, our people,” he said.
A minute’s silence was observed at the event to remember those who lost their lives during the military operation.
Ukrainian forces took back control of Isium on Saturday, marking a major strategic blow to Russia’s military offensive in the east.
The city, located near the border between the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, was under Russian occupation for more than five months and became a major hub for the invading army. Moscow used Izium as a launching pad for attacks on the Donetsk region and the Kubyansk region, about 30 miles north of the Kubyansk region, as a rail hub for resupplying its forces.
Zelensky told reporters he was “shocked” by the number of “destroyed buildings” and “killed people” left in the wake of the Russian occupation.
“Unfortunately, it’s part of our history today. It’s part of the modern Russian nation — what they did,” he said.
He thanked foreign governments for sending investigators and prosecutors to investigate alleged human rights abuses by occupying forces in Ukraine, adding that all occupied territories would eventually return.
“Unfortunately, we have to send signals to our people who are still under occupation. My signal to the people in Crimea: We know these are our people, and it’s a terrible tragedy that they’ve been under occupation for more than eight years. We’ll be back. I don’t know exactly when. But we have plans. .
Zelensky said Tuesday’s 8,000 square kilometers (3,088 square miles) of territory was a sign that Kiev’s continued military offensive was working. Now released So far this month, roughly half of the area is still under “stabilization” operations by Ukrainian forces.
On Monday, the president said most of the areas recaptured by Ukrainian forces since early September were concentrated in the country’s northeast and south.