KYIV (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy marked Ukraine’s Defenders Day holiday on Friday by promising victory over Russia and freedom for Ukraine.
In a video address delivered on hills outside the capital Kyiv, Zelenskiy thanked Ukraine’s armed forces for defending their country. He said everything that had been taken away from Ukraine would be returned, and no soldier left in captivity.
“It seems that the current enemy in its evil unites all the enemies of our statehood that we faced before,” Zelenskiy said on the wooded hills outside the village of Vitachyv, site of an historic military outpost overlooking the Dnipro River.
“By defeating this enemy, we will respond to all enemies who encroached on Ukraine – on those who lived, who live and who will live on our land. This will be a victory for all our people. This will be a victory for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, launched on Feb. 24, has killed thousands, displaced millions, pulverised cities and damaged the global economy.
Ukrainian forces have made advances in recent weeks, but Russia has carried out heavy air strikes that hit energy facilities as well as apartment blocks this week.
“The world sees that Ukrainians do not lose their humanity under any circumstances. The enemy can strike at our cities, but never at our dignity,” Zelenskiy, who was dressed in khaki, said in his video address marking the Oct. 14 public holiday.
(Writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly, Editing by Timothy Heritage)