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Zelensky hails Ukrainians’ resolve 50 days into Russia's military operation

"They didn't know how brave Ukrainians are," the president says in his nightly address



AFP
AFP

By AP

Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 8:35 AM

On a day that saw Moscow suffer a stinging symbolic defeat with the loss of its Black Sea fleet flagship, Ukraine’s president hailed his people for their resolve since Russia attacked in February and for making “the most important decision of their life — to fight.”

In his nightly address, Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians late Thursday that they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian military operation when the attackers “gave us a maximum of five.”

Back then even friendly world leaders urged him to leave, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, he said: “But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want.”

Listing the ways Ukraine has defended against the onslaught, Zelensky noted “those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it’s to the bottom” of the sea.

It was his only reference to the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, named for the Russian capital, which became a potent target of Ukrainian defiance in the opening days of the war. It sank Thursday while being towed to port after suffering heavy damage under circumstances that remained under dispute.

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Ukrainian officials said their forces struck the vessel with missiles, while Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but not any attack. US and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.

In any case, the loss was a symbolic defeat for Russia as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after retreating from much of the north, including the capital, Kyiv.


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