Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Kharkiv on Thursday, marking a critical visit to the country's second-largest city amid escalating Russian military activities in the region. This visit comes just days after Russian forces launched a new front across the northern border of Kharkiv oblast, intensifying the already brutal conflict.

In a post on Telegram, Zelenskyy provided an update on the situation, stating, "As of today, the situation in Kharkiv oblast is generally under control, our soldiers are inflicting significant losses on the occupier. But the direction remains extremely difficult - we are strengthening our units." The meeting in Kharkiv included top military leaders, such as Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi, to discuss the combat situation, imminent threats, and Ukraine's strategies to counter Russian advances.

Zelenskyy had initially planned to visit Spain but redirected his trip to Kharkiv due to the pressing threat. During his visit, ABC News had exclusive access to follow the president as he toured a hospital where he met soldiers wounded in the northern defense. He awarded medals of valor to these injured soldiers, emphasizing the importance of his presence in the beleaguered city.

"It's really important for me to be here," Zelenskyy told reporters while walking through the hospital corridors. He expressed his gratitude and concern for the soldiers, stating, "We cannot afford to lose Kharkiv." His visit, though rushed due to safety concerns, highlighted the gravity of the situation and the critical need for international support.

The Ukrainian president did not shy away from addressing the impact of delayed U.S. aid on the ongoing conflict. He was notably candid about the consequences, stating, "The delay in U.S. aid has had a direct impact on the war, and the situation along the northeastern border." Hundreds of lives have been lost or irrevocably altered, with many soldiers from the region bearing the brunt of the conflict.

When questioned about the responsibility for the current state of affairs, Zelenskyy remarked, "It's the world's fault. They gave the opportunity for Putin to occupy. But now the world can help." This comment reflected a more forthright Zelenskyy than usual, as he called for immediate action from the international community.

Regarding the recent visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who announced an additional $2 billion in aid, Zelenskyy's frustration was palpable. "Dialogue is good," he said, "but we need help now." The president's appeal underscores the urgency felt on the front lines, where support from allies is seen as critical to Ukraine's defense.

Zelenskyy stressed the importance of specific military aid, particularly Patriot missile systems, which he believes could prevent Russian forces from occupying Kharkiv. "All we need are two Patriot systems," he asserted. "Russia will not be able to occupy Kharkiv if we have those."

Addressing concerns about U.S. financial support for Ukraine, Zelenskyy pointed out, "That money is not given to Ukraine. It's money spent in American factories, creating American jobs... And we are not just fighting for our freedom. If not Ukraine, it would be another country." This perspective aims to justify the aid by highlighting its broader geopolitical and economic implications.