As Ukraine continued to wage its counter-offensive against Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky went to the newly recaptured north-eastern city of Izyum on Wednesday.
During his visit to the city, a key logistics hub, Mr Zelensky thanked troops and oversaw a flag-raising ceremony.
He pledged that the Ukrainian flag would return to every city and village in the country.
In recent days, Ukraine’s army has reclaimed swathes of occupied territory, forcing Russian troops to retreat.
Ukrainian officials say they are targeting towns in the eastern Donbas region after making a series of gains.
Putin does not see Ukraine war as mistake – Scholz
While Ukraine advanced on the ground, there were more signs that the Kremlin remained undaunted in pursuing its so-called “special military operation”.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he urged Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops and re-enter talks with Ukraine when the two leaders held a 90-minute phone call the previous day.
However, he said Mr Putin had “unfortunately” not changed his position on the invasion and apparently did not realise it was a mistake.
Mr Scholz emphasised the importance of continuing to talk to Mr Putin and said the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine would be the only way for “peace to have a chance in the region”.