Ukraine war: Zelensky insists country will win on second anniversary

  • Written by Katherine Armstrong
  • BBC News

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Marches were held across Europe in solidarity with Ukraine

The Ukrainian president has issued a rallying cry, vowing that his country will prevail, as two years have passed since Russia's all-out invasion.

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

Western leaders joined him in a show of solidarity.

The anniversary comes as Ukraine faces a set of setbacks in its efforts to expel Russia from its territory.

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

“That is why to the phrase ‘end of war’ we always add the phrase ‘on our terms.’ That is why the word ‘peace’ always rhymes with the word ‘just’.”

“We've been fighting for this. For 730 days of our lives already. And we will prevail on the best day of our lives.”

He was joined in Kiev by the leaders of Italy, Belgium and Canada – as well as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

They placed wreaths on a wall in memory of those who lost their lives in the conflict.

However, there were some glaring omissions among visitors. No senior US representatives attended, while President Joe Biden attended the anniversary last year.

Ms von der Leyen praised the Ukrainian forces who defended the country in the early days of the invasion and confounded expectations about their ability to block the Russian invasion force.

“You were able to stop the Russian attack on the heart of Ukraine,” she said. “You saved your country, and you saved all of Europe.”

Italy and Canada used the anniversary visit to announce that they had signed bilateral security agreements with Kiev – aimed at boosting Ukraine's hopes of becoming a member of the NATO military alliance.

Later, G7 members – including Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States – pledged support for Ukraine and imposed new sanctions on Russia during a virtual meeting.

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Western leaders joined the Ukrainian president in Kiev to mark the anniversary

Marches were also held across Europe in solidarity with Ukraine. The participants called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.

It was reported that at least four people were arrested in Moscow on Saturday during an anti-war protest organized by the wives of mobilized soldiers.

Such demonstrations are rare given the many laws now in effect in Russia that punish dissent.

Meanwhile, the fighting continues. At least four people were killed during recent Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities.

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

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