Defiant Ukrainian president Zelenskyy poses for selfies on under-fire frontline

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was spotted smiling and taking selfies with locals – just hours before his closest ally got to keep his job.

The embattled leader of the country being invaded by Russia, by order of its despotic leader President Vladimir Putin, took time out from the war to meet local residents.

And he did it with a smile on his face.

At the same time, his close friend and biggest support Prime Minister Boris Johnson was facing a vote of no confidence after rebel Tory MPs grew increasingly fed up of his performance in charge of the UK.

The PM said, before winning the vote by 58%: “The Ukrainian people will not bow to Russian brutality.

“We’re unwavering in our mission of ensuring Ukraine is defended and supported for the long-term.”

It is not clear where the sanatorium where Ukrainians who had been forced to leave their homes Zelensky visited was when he took a selfie with a young girl and her mother, but he seemed relaxed – as if he was welcoming a short respite from the invasion.

As the battle for Ukraine’s Donbas region increasingly becomes the kind of grim slog that chewed up thousands of soldiers during the First World War, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has given the clearest indication yet of the price Ukrainians are paying to defend their country.

“We're losing 60-100 soldiers per day as killed in action and something around 500 people as wounded in action," he said.

He admitted that the current situation in Donbas is “very difficult” but said that despite intense Russian pressure Ukrainian troops are “holding our defensive perimeter”.

  • Russian army in such a shambles that they're facing battle with soggy toilet paper

And Konstantinos Grivas, a professor of geopolitics and modern weapons systems at the Hellenic Military Academy in Athens, told Al Jazeera: “The Ukrainian resistance has begun to bend under the pressure of the enormous firepower the Russians are unleashing against it…

“We’re seeing a war of super-high intensity. To win in this environment you have to be prepared to unleash a lot of destruction and to suffer great losses. It’s a question of who holds out longest."

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