Zelenskiy says Ukraine was ‘reborn’ when Russia invaded

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a news conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 23, 2022.

KYIV (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Ukrainians on Wednesday in an emotional speech to mark 31 years of independence that Ukraine was reborn when Russia invaded on Feb. 24 and would recapture annexed Crimea and occupied areas in the east.

In the recorded speech aired on the six-month anniversary of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Zelenskiy said that Ukraine no longer saw the war ending when there was peace, but when Kyiv was actually victorious.

“A new nation appeared in the world on Feb. 24 at 4 in the morning. It was not born, but reborn. A nation that did not cry, scream or take fright. One that did not flee. Did not give up. And did not forget,” he said.

The 44-year-old wartime leader delivered the speech in his trademark combat fatigues in front of Kyiv’s central monument to independence from the Russia-controlled Soviet Union.

“What for us is the end of the war? We used to say: peace. Now we say: victory,” he said.

The streets of central Kyiv were unusually empty on Wednesday morning following days of dire warnings of the possibility that Russia could launch fresh missile attacks on major cities.