A library image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) listening to explanations during a military drill outside the city of Rivne, northern Ukraine, in February (Picture: Ukrainian Defense Ministry/UPI/Alamy Live News).
Ukraine

Zelensky says Ukrainians should be proud of their resistance

The Ukrainian president spoke to his people in a late-night video address on Thursday.

A library image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) listening to explanations during a military drill outside the city of Rivne, northern Ukraine, in February (Picture: Ukrainian Defense Ministry/UPI/Alamy Live News).

President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Ukrainians they should be proud of having resisted the Russian invasion for 50 days after the Russians "gave us a maximum of five".

As part of a late-night video address to his people on Thursday, he described the defence as "an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on February 24 made the most important decision of their life – to fight".

The president spoke extensively and almost poetically about the ways in which Ukrainians have fended off the Russian attack, including "those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it's to the bottom" of the sea.

It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to port.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February and is thought to have lost thousands of fighters since then. It is unclear how many Ukrainian civilians have been killed, but millions have been forced to flee their homes.

Mr Zelensky said he remembered the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

He added: "But they didn't know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want."