During a working trip to the Sumy region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the events on the occasion of the anniversary of the heroic defense of the city of Okhtyrka from the Russian invaders.
"In the Sumy region, in our Okhtyrka, we honor the true Cossack courage and indomitability of our people, our heroes, all Ukrainian men and women. Those who fought here for their city, for their land, and thus for our entire state. Those who destroyed the Russian convoys here and thus disrupted the entire plan of the enemy against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people," said the Head of State in his speech.
The President noted that Okhtyrka experienced heavy losses and brutal enemy strikes, when the Russian invaders bombarded residential neighborhoods with jets, fired from MLRS at a kindergarten and other civilian infrastructure, and took people's lives.
The attendees honored the memory of all those who gave their lives for the independence of Ukraine with a moment of silence. In particular, servicemen and civilians who died during the defense of Okhtyrka were mentioned by name.
The Head of State emphasized that confidence in the victory of Ukraine consists of the heroism of many citizens, many of our hero cities, who did not surrender to the occupier and fought for freedom and Ukraine.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the battles for Okhtyrka and the entire Sumy region, the Ukrainians gained protection for other cities as well, in particular for Kharkiv and Kyiv.
"It is a great honor for me to confer the honorary title of Hero City, Defender City, Victor City upon Okhtyrka today," he said.
City mayor, head of the Military Civilian Administration and city commandant Pavlo Kuzmenko received the award from the hands of the President.
As the Head of State emphasized, near Okhtyrka in the Sumy region, the state border of Ukraine passes, which no tyrant can erase.
"Ukrainians will live here, on their land, in their cities and villages, which we have to rebuild after the war. And I'm sure it will definitely happen," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He also stressed that Ukraine will never forgive the crimes committed by Russia on Ukrainian soil.
"Justice is the most important thing for us today, so we will not forgive what was done against Ukrainians, against Ukraine. We will bring to justice all murderers from the Russian Federation, terrorists and the aggressor state itself. And we will not leave a single wound inflicted by this war on the body of our state. We will rebuild absolutely everything that was destroyed. And we will do everything to revive all these cities and villages," said the President of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the ceremony of awarding state awards to the participants in the defense of the city of Okhtyrka.
Servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces received Orders "For Courage" of the III degree and medals "For Military Service to Ukraine" from the Head of State.
Orders and medals were also awarded to employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Guard, the National Police, and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.
In addition, the President presented awards to four civilians: the Order of Princess Olga of the III degree and the Order "For Courage" of the III degree, which one person was awarded posthumously.