Over 30 settlements in Kiev region 'liberated', says Zelensky
The President said: "During the defence of Kiev, more than 30 settlements in the region, which were temporarily occupied by the enemy, were liberated"
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that since Moscow started its invasion of his country on February 24, more than 30 settlements in the Kiev region have been "liberated", which were temporarily occupied by the Russian military.
In a video address on Friday, the President said: "During the defence of Kiev, more than 30 settlements in the region, which were temporarily occupied by the enemy, were liberated."
According to the President, the commander of the Land Forces, Alexander Syrskyy, has been leading the defence of Kiev since the beginning of the invasion 24 days ago, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
Zelensky added that due to Syrskyy's professional and courageous actions, the Russian military suffered significant losses and was driven away from the capital.
The President has awarded Syrskyy the Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, second class.
Earlier, Zelensky had signed a decree to confer state awards to 138 servicemen of the Armed Forces.
Also on Friday, Oleksandr Gruzevych, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Command of the Land Forces, said that the Ukrainian military was now working to strengthen Kiev's third, which is the outermost, ring of defence.
Addressing the media, Gruzevych said: "Kiev is the main strategic objective of our enemy. The capital did not surrender in three days as the occupiers planned, thanks not only to the work of the military but also all law enforcement agencies and defence forces."
He said Russian forces were stopped almost 70 km away from Kiev's Right Bank, which which makes it impossible to fire, except for rocket, Ukrayinska Pravda reported.
"The enemy has been stopped on the Left Bank."
He however acknowledged that Russian troops continued "shooting at our infrastructure", in the wake of which "every city is preparing like a defensive fort".
According to Gruzevych, there is an air defence system around the Kiev, but the missiles fired by Russia are falling on the city and damaging infrastructure.
He says missile were being fired from two directions -- Black Sea and Belarus, and added that "work on a system that will minimise the impact of missiles on civilians is underway".
Gruzevych also said that an effective anti-sabotage system has been set up in Kiev, and in recent days "more than 35 sabotage and reconnaissance groups were destroyed in the capital".