Zelensky confident of victory as he marks Ukraine's Statehood Day

Kyiv, Ukraine - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he is confident of victory in the face of Russia's invasion as he honored a new holiday marking the country's statehood.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the country's first Statehood Day.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the country's first Statehood Day.  © MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

It was a troubled morning with missile terror, but Ukraine would not give up, Zelensky announced in Kyiv on Thursday. He congratulated citizens on the first-ever Ukrainian Statehood Day, which is celebrated alongside Independence Day on August 24.

"Ukraine is an independent, free and indivisible state. And it will be so forever," Zelensky said. He published an emotional video about the country's struggle against the Russian occupiers. The country was fighting for its freedom, he said.

Earlier, pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian separatist leader Denis Pushilin said it was time to take the cities of Kharkiv, Odessa, and Kyiv as well.

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In the war, which has entered its sixth month, Zelensky said Ukraine has so far lost control of about 20% of its territory. He called for more heavy weapons from the West to stop Russian attacks and liberate occupied territories.

Ukraine celebrates first Statehood Day

With the new holiday, which Zelensky had set last year, Ukraine is also countering Russian claims that it is not a real state at all, but an artificial entity.

Zelensky had repeatedly and resolutely rejected this. Last year, for example, he declared that Orthodox Christianity was spread from Kyiv more than 1,000 years ago.

In Kyiv, Grand Prince Volodymyr had declared Christianity the form of government on July 28, 988. In the past, Russians and Ukrainians had celebrated it together. The Russian parliament had also elevated the day to a national day of commemoration in 2010.

The anniversary of Christianization was already a legal commemoration day in Ukraine, but not a day off.

Cover photo: MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

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