TOP STORIES Zelensky visits war-torn Mykolaiv and Odessa in southern Ukraine.

Zelensky visits war-torn Mykolaiv and Odessa in southern Ukraine.

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LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday morning made an unannounced visit to Mykolaiv, a war-torn city in southern Ukraine that Kyiv has delayed in fierce resistance, and the nearby port city of Odessa.

Mr. Zelensky’s visit, his first visit to the city, comes a day after Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, in a defiant address, sought to rally support and blame the West for the ongoing fallout from the war as the two leaders struggle to convince their public and the world of that they have an advantage in the fight.

During the first weeks of the war, Mr. Zelenskiy was constantly in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, often addressing the nation from easily identifiable locations, seeking to reassure his shell-shocked citizens.

But increasingly, he moved closer to the front lines, demonstrating that his troops had a strong enough hold on these unstable areas to allow him to move safely. The trips have become a tool to boost morale among the troops and among the population, as well as to divert attention from the terrible losses that are inflicted during the ongoing fierce fighting.

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