(CNN) — The Russian Defense Ministry said, on Saturday, that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made a rare visit to the Russian forces deployed in Ukraine, where he distributed medals to them.
The ministry added in a statement that Shoigu “inspected the forward command center of one of the formations of the Vostok forces towards southern Donetsk.”
In a video clip published by the ministry, Shoigu was seen distributing medals to Russian military personnel, and inspecting damaged buildings, accompanied by the commander of the Eastern Military District, Colonel Rustam Muradov.
Shoigu told the servicemen: “These awards are well deserved. You fight with dignity! There is still a lot of work ahead. I really hope that you will continue to faithfully serve our country.”
The visit comes after the Russian forces and the forces of the Russian private military company Wagner strengthened their siege on the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.