Ukraine “will prevail” over Russian forces, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, a day before the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of his country.
This came as Ukrainian officials warned that Russia is preparing a new wave of attacks, timed to coincide with the 24 February anniversary of Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksiy Danilov told Radio Svoboda, the Russian-language arm of US broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that it was “no secret” that Russia’s army was preparing its next attempted advances.
Danilov said that the main target was most likely to bring the breakaway eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk completely under Russian control.
Speaking ahead of the first anniversary of the illegal Russian invasion, president Zelenskyy said: “We have not broken down, we have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail. We will hold to account all those who brought this evil, this war to our land.”
Accompanied by various images showing the impact of the war, he says memories like these “leave deep scars in your heart and soul”.
“They remind us of the path we have gone [on] from February to February,” he said, commending Ukraine for not giving in.
“We have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail,” Zelenskyy’s message read.
“We will hold to account all those who brought this evil, this war to our land. All the terror, all the killings, all the torture, all the looting.Quote Message: Russia has chosen the path of the murderer. The path of the terrorist. The path of the torturer. The path of the looter. This is the state choice of Russia, and there will be state responsibility for the terror committed.”
Earlier on Thursday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said the delayed Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will be deployed this year, in comments made on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
The RS-28 Sarmat liquid-fuelled missile – dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts – was first announced by Putin in 2018 and was supposed to have been deployed last year.
CNN reported that the United States believes Russia carried out a test of the Sarmat just before US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Ukraine earlier this week, but that the test failed. The Russian defence ministry has not commented on that report.