Mon. Nov 21st, 2022

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked Ukraine’s annual Day of Dignity and Freedom on Monday, celebrating the sacrifices the Ukrainian people have made since the Russian invasion and saying his country will endure and prevail.

In a video address to the nation, Zelenskyy hailed the contributions of Ukrainians – from soldiers, firefighters and medics to teachers who give online lessons, villagers who cook for the army, tailors who sew uniforms and farmers who plow their fields despite the risk.

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He applauded their defiance despite frequent rocket attacks, widespread destruction, shortages and increasing blackouts as winter approaches, almost exactly nine months since the Russian invasion.

“We can run out of money. No gas. No hot water. No light. But not without freedom,” Zelenskyy said in a speech he gave standing in a lavish room in the presidential palace in the capital, Kyiv.

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The Day of Dignity and Freedom marks the protests for the European Union in 2013/2014. which became known as the Maidan Revolution, the Revolution of Dignity and the Orange Revolution in 2004. In both revolutions, the leadership of Ukraine was overthrown.

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Underscoring Ukrainian defiance, Zelensky’s video included excerpts from an anniversary address a year ago in which he wore a suit and tie. This year he wore the khaki shirt that became his wartime trademark.

“What has changed since then (a year ago)? A lots of. Craters appeared on our land. There are roadblocks and anti-tank hedgehogs in our towns and villages. Maybe it’s dark on our streets. It can be cold in our homes,” Zelenskyy said.

“There are a lot of changes, but they haven’t changed the most important thing. Because the most important thing is not the outside, but the inside. And it remains unchanged. And that’s why we will endure. We will endure.”

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He said that in the future, Ukrainians will gather at Independence Square in Kyiv, which was the center of events in 2013/14. and in 2004, “where we will celebrate Victory Day of Ukraine. In peaceful Kiev, in peaceful Ukraine.”