Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ukraine war: Zelensky insists country will win on second anniversary

  • By Kathryn Armstrong
  • BBC News

image caption,

Marches were held across Europe in solidarity with Ukraine

Two years after Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine's president has vowed his country will prevail.

“None of us will allow our Ukraine to end,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech in the capital Kyiv.

Western leaders also expressed solidarity with him.

The anniversary comes as Ukraine has suffered several setbacks in its efforts to expel Russia from its territory.

Mr Zelensky said in his speech on Saturday that while any normal person would want the war to end, it could only be on Ukraine's terms.

“That's why, with the words 'end of war,' we always add 'our terms.' That's why the word 'peace' always goes with 'just.'

“We are fighting for it. Already 730 days of our lives. And we will win on the best day of our lives.”

He was accompanied in Kiev by the leaders of Italy, Belgium and Canada – as well as the president of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen.

They paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict by placing wreaths on the wall.

However, there were some glaring omissions among the audience. No senior US delegation attended, whereas last year President Joe Biden attended the anniversary event.

Ms van der Leyen praised Ukrainian troops who defended the country in the early days of the invasion and confounded expectations of Russia's ability to deter an invading force.

“You managed to stop Russia's attack in the heart of Ukraine. You saved your country, you saved all of Europe,” he said.

Italy and Canada used the anniversary visit to announce the signing of bilateral security agreements with Kyiv to boost Ukraine's hopes of becoming a member of the NATO military alliance.

image source, Shutterstock

image caption,

Western leaders joined Ukraine's president in Kyiv to mark the anniversary

In a further show of support, marches were held across Europe – with participants calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.

At least four people were reportedly arrested in Moscow on Saturday in a rare protest against the war organized by wives of demobilized soldiers.

Such demonstrations are rare because many laws are now in place in Russia that punish dissent.

Meanwhile the fight continues. At least four people have been killed in recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities.

Kyiv said it hit one of Russia's largest steel plants in a drone strike early Saturday.

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