Zelensky says will 'do everything to gain victory this year'

24 Feb 2023 05:37pm
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson enter prior their joint press conference following the talks in Kyiv on February 15, 2023. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson enter prior their joint press conference following the talks in Kyiv on February 15, 2023. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)
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KYIV, Ukraine - President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday hailed Ukraine and its people for fighting back against Russia and vowed victory on the first anniversary of the war.

"We endured. We were not defeated. And we will do everything to gain victory this year!" Zelensky said in a statement released on social media.

Early in the morning a year ago, Russian troops invaded Ukraine, leading to the worst conflict in Europe since World War II.

The war has devastated swathes of Ukraine, displaced millions, turned Russia into a pariah in the West and, according to Western sources, has caused more than 150,000 casualties on each side.

Sitting at a desk, dressed in a blue sweatshirt with Ukraine's trident emblem, Zelensky paid homage to cities that have become bywords for alleged Russian war crimes like Bucha, Irpin and Mariupol as "capitals of invincibility".

Ukraine's resistance has surprised Russia, which was expecting a quick victory, as well as observers all around the world.

Zelensky said the first months of the war "changed the world's perception of Ukraine. It did not fall in three days. It stopped the second army of the world!"

The Ukrainian leader managed to rally Western financial and military support, which helped Kyiv push back Russian troops.

"Ukraine has inspired the world. Ukraine has united the world," in a "furious year of invincibility," he said.

"We will never rest until the Russian murderers face deserved punishment," he also said.

Ukraine's defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said his forces were making plans to push Russian troops out of the country.

"A year ago, it was difficult for us to get serious weapons. Today, civilised countries see that you are the shield of Europe in the east," Reznikov told the armed forces on Friday.

"There will be a counteroffensive. We are working hard to prepare and secure it." - AFP

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