Ukraine's Zelenskiy visits eastern command post for Chasiv Yar troops

KYIV (Reuters) -President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday he visited a Ukrainian military command post used by troops defending the embattled eastern town of Chasiv Yar that Russian forces are bearing down on.

The Ukrainian leader, due to address allies at the NATO-Ukraine Council by video link on Friday, said he spoke to troops with the 41st mechanised brigade and presented them with awards.

The visit looked aimed at lifting Ukrainian troop morale 25 months into Russia's full-scale invasion, which shows no sign of letting up. Moscow's troops occupy 18% of Ukraine's territory and are inching forward in the east.

Zelenskiy said on X that he also visited a paratroopers' medical platoon and inspected the construction of fortifications. "Every effort must be made in this regard."

Kyiv has scaled up its efforts to build defence lines as officials warned that Russia might be preparing a big offensive later this spring or in summer.

It was not clear how close the command post was to Chasiv Yar, a strategically-positioned town on elevated ground that could become the site of an important battle in coming weeks.

Video from the trip shared by Zelenskiy showed an entrance sign to the town of Sloviansk, about 30 km from Chasiv Yar that has recently seen intensified Russian attempts to advance.

Ukraine's army chief said Russia aimed to capture the town by May aiming to set the stage for further advances in the region. Kyiv's brigades were holding back the assaults.

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Philippa Fletcher)