President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov visited a military command post in Kharkiv Oblast's Kupiansk amid Russia's ongoing offensive against the northeastern city, the Presidential Office reported on Nov. 30.
Zelensky and Umerov met Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi, who briefed them on the operational situation in the area and clarified his plan for further defense of the Kupiansk-Lyman axis, according to Zelensky's office.
Syrskyi heads Ukraine's military operations in the east.
Zelensky and Umerov also reportedly met with other commanders leading the Ukrainian defense near Kupiansk.
They discussed soldiers' urgent needs, including electronic warfare equipment, drones, protection against Russian drones, and strengthening fortifications.
"I know that you are losing close people, your brothers in arms, every day. Everyone understands that this is the highest price. Therefore, I am asking you to protect yourself, protect the soldiers who fight alongside you every day," the president told soldiers during his visit.
"I wish you victory, be strong, do not lose the initiative, and defend Kharkiv Oblast, Kupiansk, every village, every square meter of our land."
Russia has been concentrating its forces around Kupiansk since mid-July, trying to regain the positions lost during the Ukrainian surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast last autumn.
Kupiansk, around 100 kilometers east of Kharkiv, was occupied by Russian forces from Feb. 27 to Sept. 10, 2022.