Ukraine’s Zelenskiy meets troops in frontline Zaporizhzhia region

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia and met troops fighting in the counteroffensive against Russian forces in the south, the president’s office said on Tuesday.

Zelenskiy was shown in a video with senior Ukrainian soldiers examining a battlefield map at what the president’s office said was the frontline command point of the 46th separate airmobile brigade near the town of Orikhiv.

“The president listened to reports by the commanders on the course of combat actions in frontline areas … and discussed the most problematic issues of their units together with the brigades and combatants,” it said in a statement.

Ukraine launched a counter-offensive against Russian forces in the south and southeast at the start of June, hoping to cut Russian forces in half by advancing south towards the Sea of Azov.

More than two months into the operation, Kyiv has retaken a string of villages but no major settlements, acknowledging that its progress has been slower than desired because of prepared Russian defences and what it says is a shortage of weapons.

“Step by step, they are resolutely moving towards the necessary result,” Zelenskiy said of brigades trying to make headway towards the southern, occupied city of Melitopol.

Kyiv has repeatedly said that it needs more Western armoured vehicles, tanks and new aircraft.

“The military emphasised the need for electronic warfare and frontline air defence systems to counter enemy aircraft and drones. There is also a need for drones, as they are quickly consumed in offensive operations,” the office said.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Tom Balmforth and Nick Macfie)