On the 500th day of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people, who have endured the hardships and losses of war with dignity and determination.
In a televised address, Zelensky said that Ukraine was fighting not only for its territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also for its values and future. He praised the efforts of the Ukrainian armed forces, who have defended the country against Russian-backed separatists, as well as the volunteers, civil society activists, and international partners who have supported Ukraine’s cause.
Zelensky also reiterated his commitment to finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict, based on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. He said that he was ready to engage in dialogue with Russia, but only on the basis of mutual respect and recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
He urged Moscow to stop its aggression and withdraw its troops and weapons from the occupied territories. Zelensky expressed his hope that the war would soon end and that Ukraine would be able to heal its wounds and rebuild its economy and society.
He said that he was confident that Ukraine would emerge stronger and more united from this ordeal, and that it would continue its path towards European integration and democratic reforms.
Zelensky concluded his speech by calling on all Ukrainians to join him in a moment of silence for the victims of the war, and to pray for peace and prosperity for their country.