Volodymyr Zelensky says ‘Ukraine will prevail against Russia’ ahead of war anniversary
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country “will prevail” as he mourned “all the terror, all the killings” ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
Mr Zelensky took to Telegram to reflect on the impact of war, saying the memories will “leave deep scars in your heart and soul”.
He said: “They remind us of the path we have gone [on] from February to February.
“We have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail.
“We will hold to account all those who brought this evil, this war to our land. All the terror, all the killings, all the torture, all the looting.”
Mr Zelensky, who wants to see his country join Nato and the EU in coming years, spoke out as the anniversary of the invasion by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s forces approaches on Friday.
Mr Zelensky added in Thursday’s message: “Russia has chosen the path of the murderer. The path of the terrorist. The path of the torturer. The path of the looter. This is the state choice of Russia, and there will be state responsibility for the terror committed.”
The conflict in Ukraine - the most significant war in Europe since World War Two - has already left tens of thousands of people dead, devastated Ukraine’s infrastructure system and damaged the global economy.
Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street administration remains a vocal backer of Ukraine. The Ministry of Defence is set to train Ukrainian pilots on Nato-standard aircraft, even if the possibility of Britain lending jets to Kyiv is a long-term prospect.
Boris Johnson in an interview with Sky News on Thursday urged the UK to “break the ice” by becoming the first country to supply Ukraine with fighter jets.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine 2022-2023: One Year Later
He also said China will be making an “historic mistake” if it supplies Russia with weapons.
“Why does China want to be contaminated by association with Putin, who has revealed himself to be this gangster and adventurer? I think it would be a big, big mistake by China,” he said.
“But what it shows is the the urgency of us giving the Ukrainians what they need to succeed this year and to make sure that 2023 is their victory.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said the alliance had seen signs that China was considering supplying arms to Russia and warned Beijing against taking any such step.
The announcement came days after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned China of consequences if it provided material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Stoltenberg said the war in Ukraine must bring an end to "a cycle of Russian aggression" that goes back much further than the invasion Moscow launched a year ago.
In an interview with Reuters , Mr Stoltenberg said the invasion was part of a pattern that included Russian military action in Georgia in 2008 and Donbas and Crimea in Ukraine in 2014.
President Biden makes a surprise visit to meet Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine
"We don't know when the war will end. But what we do know is that when the war ends, we need to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself," he said.
"We need to ensure that we break the cycle of Russian aggression. We need to prevent Russia from chipping away at European security," he told Reuters.
He said this meant ensuring that "Ukraine has the military capabilities, the strength to deter further aggression."
Ukraine officially applied for EU membership last February after war broke out, with candidate status granted several months later in June.
But while EU leaders have been outspoken advocates for Ukraine, hopes in Kyiv of a rapid two-year timeline to membership are not seen as realistic.
The question of Nato membership for Ukraine brings complicated questions amid the West’s desire to avoid a wider war with Russia.
Ukraine said its forces had repelled Russian assaults along the length of the front line on Thursday.
Western officials said Russia had planned an offensive to capture new territory ahead of the anniversary, using hundreds of thousands of reservists conscripted in recent months to give Putin a victory to announce.
Moscow's forces have made progress trying to encircle Bakhmut, but have failed to break through Ukrainian lines to the north near Kremmina and to the south at Vuhledar, where they have taken heavy losses assaulting across open ground.
Ukrainian forces repelled 90 Russian attacks in the northeast and east over the past 24 hours, the military said early on Thursday. Ukrainian military spokesperson Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov said Moscow was trying to use its manpower advantage to exhaust Kyiv's forces.
Mr Putin announced plans on Thursday to deploy new Sarmat multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. Earlier this week he suspended Russia's participation in the START nuclear arms control treaty.
Russia would "pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad," Putin said in remarks released by the Kremlin, referring to nuclear missiles based on land, sea and in the air.
Ukraine and its Western allies have brushed off the nuclear talk as a diversion from a failing Russian military campaign on the ground.
The US Embassy in Ukraine issued an alert to Americans in the country about what it called an ongoing heightened threat of missile attacks across Ukraine including Kyiv and the Kyiv region.
The alert urged U.S. citizens “to observe air alarms, shelter appropriately, follow guidance from local authorities.”