Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the survival of his country, 100 days into a Russian invasion that has devastated the nation, claimed thousands of lives and threatened global food supplies.
In a defiant video that echoed his rallying cry to the country shortly after Moscow launched its all-out assault on February 24 that at the time targeted him, his government and Kyiv, Zelensky spoke from outside his office in the capital with his top aides at his side.
“The president is here, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are here. And most importantly our people are here,” he declared. “We have been defending Ukraine for 100 days. Victory is ours.”
His bravado on Friday in part reflected fresh supplies of heavier and longer range weaponry from the US and European countries. When Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine, western leaders expected the capital to fall within days.
While millions of Ukrainians have become refugees and casualties have risen, Zelensky remains in control of the capital. But the country is braced for a grinding and drawn out war with its northern neighbour’s larger army. Russia now occupies 20 per cent of Ukrainian territory in the east and south of the country, up from seven per cent previously, and is pressing on with its proclaimed aim of capturing all of the eastern Donbas region.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday said it had recorded 4,183 civilian deaths but warned that “actual figures are considerably higher”. This figure does not include combatant casualties. Zelensky has in recent days said his country is losing up to 100 soldiers per day. His army estimates more than 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, a figure that Russian officials have not confirmed and which could not be independently verified.
The conflict between two countries that are large agricultural exporters has roiled global grain and vegetable oil markets, pushing up prices and threatening food…
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