Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says the country was “reborn” on the day Russia invaded six months ago.
Speaking in an emotional video message to mark Ukrainian Independence Day on Wednesday, Zelensky harked back to Feb. 24, when he said Ukrainians had to “prove our words with deeds.”
“On this day, the second all-Ukrainian referendum actually took place. Again — the main question. Again — a decisive choice. But this time it was necessary to say “yes” to independence not in the ballot, but in the soul and conscience,” he said.
“A new nation that emerged on Feb. 24 at 4 a.m. Not born, but reborn. A nation that didn’t cry, didn’t scream, didn’t get scared. Didn’t run away. Didn’t give up. Didn’t forget.”
Independence Day: Zelensky paid tribute to Ukrainians celebrating Independence Day, listing the various ways they have mobilized to assist their country from fighting on the front lines to raising funds for the war effort.
He had previously warned Ukrainians to take extra caution on Independence Day, emphasizing in his nightly address Tuesday that “hideous Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible.”
Long war: In his address Wednesday, the President spoke to the lengthy nature of the war, remarking that Ukraine has been “holding on for six months.”
“Every new day is a new reason not to give up. Because, having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end,” he said.
“What is the end of the war for us? We used to say: peace. Now we say: victory.”
Crimea vow: Finally, Zelensky vowed to restore Ukrainian rule in Crimea — which was annexed by Russia in 2014 — and the Russian-occupied Donbas region “whatever the path may be,” reiterating undertakings given during Tuesday’s Crimea Platform summit.