‘Stay strong’: Zelensky visits wounded Ukrainian soldiers in New York

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NEW YORK – As he looked at the missing limbs and grief-stricken faces of wounded Ukrainian soldiers being treated in a US hospital, President Volodymyr Zelensky had one word for Russian leaders heading to a key UN summit: “terrorists”.

Mr Zelensky arrived in New York on Monday to address the United Nations General Assembly and plead for more aid as Ukraine painfully pushes ahead with a high-stakes counteroffensive to wrest back territory from Russian forces more than 18 months into the war.

Before meeting world leaders, Mr Zelensky headed to Staten Island University Hospital, where a group of Ukrainian soldiers are receiving prosthetic arms and legs and rehabilitation services.

In a large hospital room, the Ukrainian president watched as several soldiers in khaki uniform practised walking and lifting weights with newly acquired prosthetic legs and arms.

Mr Zelensky chatted with the soldiers and shook their hands.

Even as he tried to lift the soldiers’ spirits, the Ukrainian leader was visibly shaken.

“Is it tough?“ Mr Zelensky asked one soldier. “A little,” came the reply.

Another soldier, who hails from the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine, the site of intense fighting, tried to put on a brave face.

“How are you doing? Is it difficult?“ Mr Zelensky asked. The soldier paused, then answered: “It’s okay.”

“Stay strong,” Mr Zelensky implored.

Nine Ukrainian soldiers are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital. The clinic has helped a total of 35 servicemen over the past year, according to hospital staff and the Ukrainian-American NGO Kind Deeds, which supplies prostheses for war amputees.

Kyiv does not disclose war casualty figures, but US officials estimate that the number of dead and wounded Ukrainian soldiers is nearing 500,000, the New York Times reported in August.

“Get home soon, thank you for your service,” Mr Zelensky told the soldiers as he left the room.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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