This handout picture taken and released by the press service of the Ukrainian Presidency on 18 June, 2022 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (3rdR) awarding a servicewoman during his visit to the position of Ukrainian troops in Mykolaiv region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the war-damaged southern city of Mykolaiv on Saturday for the first time since the Russian invasion in a rare trip outside Kyiv.

He also visited troops on the southern frontline of the war with Russia. Zelensky’s office published a video of him looking at a badly damaged high-rise residential building in the city and holding a meeting with local officials.

His visit comes a day after a Russian strike killed two people and injured 20 in the city.

Mykolaiv has been targeted by Russian forces since the start of their invasion on February 24.

In the video Zelensky was shown damage to a residential building by local governor Vitaliy Kim. The tall building had a gaping hole, with the inside of apartments visible.

A blue and yellow Ukrainian trident was seen in one of the shattered windows. He later also visited troops on the southern frontline in both the Mykolaiv and the neighbouring Odessa region, his office said.

“It is important that you are alive. As long as you live there is a strong Ukrainian wall that protects our country,” Zelensky told soldiers in the Odessa region.

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