Ukraine: Zelensky visits front-line city of Bakhmut
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an unannounced visit to the front-line city of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian and Russian forces have fought a fierce, months-long battle, - reports BBC.
He met troops and handed out awards to soldiers, the presidency said.
For months, Bakhmut has been a key target for Russian forces in the eastern Donetsk region, and has been extremely badly damaged.
However, Ukrainian forces have been able to hold back the advance.
The visit is a significant show of defiance - and a demonstration of support for Ukrainian forces engaged in some of the fiercest battles in recent weeks.
His trip will be compared with recent public appearances by the Russian President Vladimir Putin - who on Monday travelled to Minsk for the first time in more than three years to meet Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a long-time ally.
The two leaders spoke of increasing military co-operation, amid talk of a growing threat of another potential attack on Ukraine from Belarusian territory. In last February's invasion, some Russian units attacked Ukraine from the north through Belarus.
However, a senior US state department official told the BBC that there were conflicting views in the Russian government about whether to launch a winter offensive.
He also said the US was also seeing "very significant" shortages of ammunition for Russian forces and noted that the people being "thrown into the fight" were not trained cohesive units, which limited their effectiveness.
All that "puts constraints" on what the Russians might want to do, he added.
Returning to Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin urged the security services to increase their vigilance in exposing "traitors, spies and saboteurs".
He told them to ensure the "safety" of people in Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia in September, adding that the situation there was "extremely difficult".
Bakhmut Russia-ukraine conflict Russia-ukraine crisis Ukraine Ukraine invasion Zelenskyy