During a working trip to the Donetsk region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the events marking the seventh anniversary of the liberation of the city of Avdiivka and introduced the new Commander of the Joint Forces.
The Head of State noted that the liberation of Avdiivka in July 2014 became equally important for the residents of this city and for the whole of Ukraine.
"Exactly on this day seven years ago, without great, but still losses, the city of Avdiivka was liberated from the invaders by the forces of the 2nd battalion tactical group of the 93rd separate guards mechanized brigade and volunteers of the Right Sector. Avdiivka became the tenth city in the Donetsk region to be liberated by our Ukrainian soldiers-defenders. After Mariupol, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and other very important cities, our blue and yellow flag finally hoisted over Avdiivka. And with it, a normal, not black-and-white, peaceful life began to be restored," the President said.
However, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted, even after its liberation, Avdiivka was still one of the hottest spots for a long time and now remains at the forefront of Ukraine's struggle against the Russian aggressor.
"Very close, in the Avdiivka industrial zone, despite the agreements, explosions and shootings are continued," he added.
"Avdiivka today is a city on the line of fire that has chosen the line of freedom, the line of development and the line of our state - Ukraine," the President stressed and called on those present to honor the memory of those who paid for this choice with their lives and died defending sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine with a moment of silence.
According to the Head of State, the final liberation of Avdiivka returned full life to its residents and gave a powerful impetus to new projects.
"The coke plant, strategically important for the city and the largest in Europe, is successfully operating and developing. Reconstruction and equipping of schools, kindergartens and hospitals is underway. Life goes on. And all this is primarily the merit of the Ukrainian military," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He noted that in seven years, almost all combat units of the Armed Forces, the National Guard and the National Police of Ukraine were involved in the defense of Avdiivka and the industrial zone.
"Today, this important task is performed by the 3rd battalion of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade. I would like to sincerely thank its warriors and all valiant Ukrainian soldiers for reliably defending our borders, our independence and the peaceful life of all Ukrainian citizens," the President added.
In addition, in the presence of the state leadership, military command and residents of Avdiivka, the President introduced the newly appointed Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk.
"Introduction on such an important day - the day of the liberation of our Ukrainian city in Donbas - is a very good sign, symbol and hope that a free and peaceful life will come to all other temporarily occupied cities and villages in the east of the Ukrainian sovereign land," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
He also thanked the previous commander of the JFO Volodymyr Kravchenko for his conscientious service for the benefit of Ukraine.
On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the liberation of Avdiivka, the Head of State wished the locals and all citizens of Ukraine peace, harmony and success in the sacred cause of protecting their homeland.