‘Wish all of us one thing – victory’: Ukraine’s President in New Year message

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in a New Year’s message said his only wish for all his countrymen for 2023 was “victory” and resolved to stay the course while the country fights for it.

“I want to wish all of us one thing – victory. And that’s the main thing. One wish for all Ukrainians,” Zelenskiy, dressed in his trademark khaki outfit, said in a video message a few minutes before midnight.

He reiterated that he will stay with his people while they are fighting for freedom.

“We were told to surrender. We chose a counterattack!” he said.

“We are ready to fight for it (freedom). That’s why each of us is here. I’m here. We are here. You are here. Everyone is here. We are all Ukraine.”

Further, the Ukrainian President accused Russia of “following the devil” and waging a war to ensure that its President Vladimir Putin remains in power “until the end of his life”.

On Saturday, Russia attacked Ukraine with missiles targeting Kyiv and other cities hours before New Year’s Eve celebrations.

While delivering an emotional speech, Zelensky said, “We fight as one team — the whole country, all our regions. I admire you all. I want to thank every invincible region of Ukraine”.

“Today there is only one wish. And it will come true not by a miracle but through our work, our struggle, mutual aid, and humanity,” he continued, “Happy new year! The year of our victory”.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 calling it a “special operation” to “denazify” and demilitarise Ukraine, which he said was a threat to Russia. Kyiv and its Western allies say Putin’s invasion was merely an imperialist land grab.

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Putin used his own New Year’s address to rally the Russian people behind troops fighting in Ukraine.

While Moscow had planned a swift operation to take over its neighbour, the war is now in its 11th month, marked by many embarrassing Russian battlefield setbacks and Ukraine’s successful defence of most of its land.

Russian forces have been engaged for months now in fierce fighting in the east and south of Ukraine, to defend the lands Moscow proclaimed it annexed in September and which make up the broader Ukrainian industrial Donbas region.

On Saturday, Zelenskiy vowed to bring back what has been taken away.

“Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers – to their families. Prisoners – to their homes. Emigrants – to Ukraine. Return of our lands,” Zelensky said.

“The return of what has been stolen from us. The childhood of our children, the peaceful old age of our parents.”

(With Reuters inputs)

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