Zelenskyy’s Father’s Day message sheds light on wartime family ties


« Being a father is a great responsibility and a great happiness, » Zelenskyy wrote in an English text that followed the Ukrainian on Instagram. « It’s the strength, the wisdom, the motivation to push forward and not give up. »

He urged his country’s fighters to endure for « the future of your family, your children and, therefore, all of Ukraine ».

His message came as four months of war in Ukraine appear to be straining troop morale on both sides, sparking desertions and rebellion against officers’ orders. The NATO chief warned that the fighting could last « for years ».

« Combat units on both sides are engaged in intense fighting in the Donbass and are likely to be experiencing variable morale, » Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its Daily War Assessment.

« Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, » the assessment said, but added that « Russian morale most likely remains particularly troubled. »

He said « cases of entire Russian units refusing orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur. »

Separately, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate released what it said were intercepted phone calls in which Russian soldiers complained about front-line conditions, poor equipment and general understaffing, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Sunday that Russian and separatist forces had taken control of Metolkin, a settlement just east of Sievierodonetsk.

Bakhmut, a town in Donbass, is 33 miles southwest of the twin cities of Lysyhansk and Siervierodonetsk, where fierce military clashes have raged. Every day, Russian artillery hammers Bakhmut.

But Bakhmut residents are trying to go about their daily lives, including shopping in markets that have reopened in recent weeks.

« In principle, it can be quiet in the morning, » said resident Oleg Drobelnnikov. « The shelling starts around 7 or 8 o’clock in the evening. » Still, he said, it’s been pretty quiet for the past 10 days or so.

« You can buy food at small farmers’ markets, » said Drobelnnikov, a teacher. “That is not a problem. In principle, educational institutions, such as schools or kindergartens, are not functioning due to the situation. Institutions have moved to other regions. there is no work here.


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