Ukrainians have proved themselves to be “invincible,” said defiant Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as he joined a march and memorial service in the open air in central Kiev on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In days of remembrance and rebellion, president of ukraine Awards were presented to surviving soldiers and civilians – the wives and daughters of fallen “heroes” – in the capital outside the Hagia Sophia, describing the past year as one of “pain, sorrow, faith and solidarity”.
General Richard Barrons, the former head of the Joint Forces Command, told Sky News: “It’s actually quite remarkable that they have this kind of military parade and memorial service today, standing in an open field in Kiev.”
Earlier, the Ukrainian leader had stood firm with his people in resistance vladimir putin“We are ready for anything. We will defeat everyone,” the invading force said in a video message.
Sitting behind a desk, recalling how he addressed Ukrainians a year earlier, he described February 24, 2022, as “the longest day of our lives and the toughest day in our recent history”. “We got up early and haven’t slept since,” he said.
In another tweet, he wrote: “On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not flee, but face. Resist and fight.
“It’s been a year of pain, grief, faith and solidarity. And this year, we’re still undefeated.
“We know that 2023 will be our year of victory!”
His comments were accompanied by a video reflecting the first 12 months of the bloody conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives.
It includes footage of families broken and in tears, the destruction of cities, and memories war dead.
However, it also praised the “bravery” of the Ukrainian people against the invading forces and envisioned a year of “hopeful, resilient and invincible”.
Despite their numerical superiority, Russian forces have been defeated several times since the war began, although they still control about a fifth of Ukraine’s territory.
The war continues, especially in eastern Ukraine, where Battle of Bachmut The onslaught was so fierce that it was dubbed the “meat grinder” by the commanders of both sides.
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‘The war won’t end anytime soon’
As Kiev and the rest of the world mark the anniversary of the war, Russian Wagner Mercenary Regiment Friday claimed control of a Ukrainian village called Berkhiva near Bakhmut.
Control of Bakhmut would provide Russia with a stepping stone to advance two larger cities it has long coveted in the Donetsk region: Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.
“Yes, a year later, Ukraine is still defiant, but in the east, the war is not going to end any time soon, and Russia continues to build up troops,” said Deborah Haynes, security and defense editor at Sky News in Kiev.
The Ukrainian president’s office said Russian forces carried out airstrikes and shelling on 18 towns and villages in the Donetsk region during the 24-hour offensive, including the city of Kramatorsk, home to Ukraine’s military headquarters in the region.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its troops killed as many as 240 Ukrainian soldiers in the bombing.
The Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence update that the focus of Russia’s operations had shifted from “capturing substantial new territory” to weakening Kiev’s forces.
“The Russian leadership is likely to pursue a long-term operation, believing that Russia’s superiority in population and resources will eventually exhaust Ukraine,” it said.
UN calls on Russia to withdraw troops immediately
President Zelensky’s call for victory comes as the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last night for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for war crimes.
Only six countries — Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria — joined Russia in voting against the resolution calling for a comprehensive, lasting and just peace. China, India, Iran and South Africa were among the 32 countries that abstained.
China reiterated its call for a political solution to the Ukraine conflict – issuing a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire, resumption of peace talks and an end to unilateral sanctions.
Britain bans everything Russia used in war
Despite demands from Beijing, including for the West to stop arming Ukraine, the White House said the US would provide Ukraine with an extra $2bn (£1.65bn) in security aid, while Britain on Friday announced new sanctions banning Russian exports to Ukraine Every item ever used on the battlefield.
The internationally coordinated package of sanctions and trade measures includes export bans on hundreds of goods, such as aircraft parts, radio equipment and electronic military components.
Mr Zelensky has spent much of the past few weeks visiting European capitals, calling on leaders to send his country’s fighter jets.
However, Western leaders are concerned that Ukraine will use the aircraft to strike targets inside Russia. Instead, many opted to send tanks or armored vehicles.
‘A strong message to Putin’
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain would not be supplying fighter jets “in the short term” because it would mean sending “hundreds” of people to the country and that “the West would not send troops to Ukraine on this scale”.
He told Sky News: “One of the things I’ve learned in this conflict is that you can’t rule out anything and you can’t rule out anything.”
Regarding China’s efforts to portray itself as a neutral peace mediator, Mr Wallace said: “If your big neighbor doesn’t actively vote for you, that’s sending a strong message to China president putin It’s unwise and stupid and he should stop. “
Western leaders continued their messages of support for Ukraine on Friday.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shared a video about Ukrainians taking refuge in the UK, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would stand with Ukraine “in times of need”.
How does Russia mark this symbolic date?
Diana Magnay, a Moscow-based Sky News correspondent, said the country “hasn’t flagged it at all”.
“I think they’re trying to let this anniversary pass as if they’re calling it a special military operation and it’s business as usual,” she said.
“Vladimir Putin was clearly trying to tell people it was going to be long term. He accepted that there were no quick wins.
“The only thing we’re hearing is some sort of starkly hawkish rhetoric from former president Dmitry Medvedev, the liberal president. He said it’s important to push the boundaries of the threat as far as possible. , even to the borders of Poland.”