Kiev, Feb 24: As the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine marked a year on Friday, President of the war-torn nation Volodymyr Zelensky in a defiant statement said that “this is a year of our invincibility... this will be the year of our victory”.
In a social media post along with a short video showing the devastation caused by the year-long war, the President said: “On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not fleeing, but facing. Facing the enemy.Resistance and struggle.
“It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity. And this is a year of our invincibility. We know that this will be the year of our victory!”
Zelensky’s rallying call comes amid warnings that Russia could be planning an attack to coincide with the anniversary.
On Thursday night, there were strikes reported in the regions of Kramatorsk and Kherson, where the city’s main pipeline was damaged, reports the BBC.
On this day last year at 2.30 a.m., Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a “special military operation” in Ukraine during a televised speech.
At 3.27 a.m., the first explosions are heard in the capital Kiev, and more blasts are reported across the country as Ukrainians wake up to war.
About an hour later, Zelensky confirmed reports of nationwide missile strikes following which the NATO activated its defence plans, that included more than 100 jets on standby and 120 allied ships at sea, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean
At noon that day, the then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, addresses the nation, saying: “Our worst fears have come true and all our warnings have proved tragically accurate. President Putin of Russia has unleashed war... without any provocation and any credible excuse.”
Later that night, Zelensky called for general mobilisation and imposed martial law. He had also announced that 137 Ukrainians had died on the first day of the assault.
Since then, tens of thousands of people have died, entire cities have been destroyed and millions have fled Ukraine. The UNHCR estimates more than 6.5 million Ukrainians are internally displaced and over 7.8 million refugees have left the country.
For 12 months, Ukraine’s armed forces have mounted a resilient defence, defying expectations in Moscow that the invasion would be completed in days, CNN reported.
Russian tanks never reached Kiev’s city centre; instead, they were pushed out of northern Ukraine, and stifled in grinding battles in the east and south.