President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine praised his fellow countrymen for fighting to defend themselves against Russia following the latter’s unprovoked attack.
“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 stated during a video address, as reported by Axios.
“Our military, border guards, territorial defense, even ordinary farmers capture the Russian military on a daily basis. And they all say one thing: They don't know why they're here,” he went on to say.
Zelenskyy has tried to appeal directly to young Russian conscripts whom he claims were only tricked into participating in this operation, which ended its first week on Thursday.
On Wednesday, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters that indications of low morale among Russian troops were present.
“We also believe that they have had morale problems that have led to, you know, less than effective operational success north of Kyiv,” the official stated.
The Ukrainian president has rallied his country’s citizens to fight for their freedom against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s large military. Zelenskyy’s words and actions have helped gain the support of the world for Ukraine as it fights an opponent that expected an easy way to victory.
“Despite the fact that their quantity is 10 times bigger, the morale of the enemy is deteriorating,” Zelenskyy said. “More and more invaders are fleeing back to Russia.”
On Thursday, Russian troops were at the center of Kherson, a Ukrainian port, following conflicting reports about whether Russia managed to capture a major urban center for the first time during its eight-day invasion.
According to Russia’s defense ministry, it managed to take over Kherson on Wednesday. However, one of Zelenskyy’s advisers responded that Ukrainian troops are still defending the Black Sea port of about 250,000 citizens.
“I am sure of this: if [the Russians] entered somewhere, it is only temporary. We'll drive them out, with shame,” Zelenskyy said.
“For us, this is a patriotic war. We remember how patriotic wars begin. And we know they end for the invaders,” the Ukrainian president added.
Over one million people have already escaped from Ukraine after Russia’s invasion started, making it the fastest refugee exodus in the last 100 years, according to the United Nations.
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