Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised civilians who have taken up arms against Russia’s unprovoked invasion during a speech marking one week since it began, crediting them for their courageous stand.
“We are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week – plans that have been built for years, treacherously, deliberately, with hatred of our country, of our people, of any people who have heart and freedom,” Zelenskyy said.
The country’s president has become the face of a global movement condemning Russia and its autocratic president, Vladimir Putin, for an invasion that has already cost thousands of civilian lives.
“Our military, border guards, territorial defense, even ordinary farmers capture Russian military on a daily basis,” Zelenskyy said. “And they all say one thing: They don’t know why they’re here.”
“Despite the fact that their quantity is 10 times bigger, the morale of the enemy is deteriorating,” he added. “More and more invaders are fleeing back to Russia.”
Despite Ukraine’s relative success at repelling Russian forces, the invasion has sparked a massive refugee crisis. Russian troops have also leveled civilian areas in some of Ukraine’s largest cities and taken control of the southern port city of Kherson.
Fears are also growing that Russian forces, on Putin’s orders, will target civilian areas even more, and that they won’t stop until the country is conquered.
Zelenskyy, however, remained steadfast in his speech. “I am sure of this: if [the Russians] entered somewhere, it is only temporary. We’ll drive them out, with shame,” he said.