President Zelensky assures Ukrainians of victory and peace

"Victory is ahead," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told Ukrainians in a video.

"Victory is ahead," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told Ukrainians in a video. Photo: Getty

President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Ukrainians the country will defeat Russia and win a fair peace “against all odds” as the future of US military and financial aid hangs in the balance.

Zelensky delivered his defiant message in an unusual early-morning video that showed him walking through Kyiv on his way to pay his respects to fallen soldiers on what Ukraine marks as  Armed Forces Day.

“It has been difficult but we have persevered,” said Zelensky, who filmed himself on a mobile phone as he walked from his office down the central Hrushevskoho street towards central Kyiv’s “wall of remembrance”.

“It is not easy now, but we are moving. No matter how difficult it is, we will get there. To our borders, to our people. To our peace. Fair peace. Free peace. Against all odds.”

His remarks appeared to respond to uncertainty over the future of a $US60 billion ($91 billion) aid package being debated in US Congress that has been stuck for weeks.

On Tuesday, Zelensky cancelled plans to address US politicians to appeal directly for the aid as Congress wrangles over Republican demands to tie the assistance to a revamp of US immigration and border policies.

Ukraine has relied heavily on assistance from its allies against Russia’s much bigger army in the biggest war in Europe since World War II, now in its 22nd month.

A proposed European Union military aid package has also run into resistance from some members of the bloc.

In one of the bleakest assessments yet by a senior Ukrainian official, Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Tuesday that postponement of the US aid created a “big risk” that Ukraine would lose the war.

Russian forces control about 17.5 per cent of Ukraine’s territory and Ukraine’s army is facing a new Russian offensive on the eastern front, with especially fierce fighting around the towns of Avdiivka and Mariinka.

In his video, Zelensky greeted people as he walked down the slippery, winter streets.

He said Ukraine had no alternative except to liberate its territories occupied by Russia.

“These are our lands. These are our people. Is there an alternative? No. Nine years and 651 days of the war are behind us. Victory is ahead. And how else? Could there be an alternative? We all know: no,” Zelensky said.

He was later shown paying his respects at the wall of remembrance created in 2014 to commemorate victims of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Russia seized the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed a militant insurgency in the east.

While the original panels were neatly structured with orderly military pictures, that changed after Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Grieving families placed hundreds of personal photos there.

Zelensky said the wall would help strengthen Ukrainians’ spirit against “fear, mistrust, despair, discord and thoughts of giving up”.


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