In the video posted on multiple social media channels on Wednesday (2 March) evening, the President said his forces have killed 9,000 Russian troops so far and praised the unity and bravery of Ukrainian citizens for fighting back by blocking roads and obstructing tanks.
He said: “We are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week - plans that have been built for years, vile, calculated, with hate for our country, for our people, for any people who have two things: freedom and heart.
“But we stopped them and beat them.
“Our military, our border guards, our territorial defence, even ordinary farmers capture the Russian military every day.
“And all the captives say only one thing: they do not know why they are here.
“Despite the fact that there are dozens of times more of them, the morale of the enemy is constantly deteriorating.
“Blocking roads, people come out in front of enemy vehicles - it’s extremely dangerous, but how courageous. It is also salvation.”
His speech came after several cities in Ukraine were hit by intense shelling on Wednesday, with explosions heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv overnight.
A huge convoy of Russian armoured vehicles remained within 20 miles of the capital but US defence officials claimed it had “stalled” due to fuel and food shortages.
Moscow is now claiming it has seized its first major city in the conflict.
Russian forces have reportedly taken control of the southern port city of Kherson after forcing their way into the city council building.
Mayor Igor Kolykhaev urged enemy troops not to shoot civilians and asked residents to follow conditions set by the invading army in order to “keep the Ukrainian flag flying”.
Mr Zelensky has urged his people not to give up as the Ukrainian army is doing everything to break Russian forces.
He said: “They will not have peace here, they will not have food here, they will not have a single quiet moment here.
“The occupiers will receive only one thing from Ukraine — a rebuff, a worthy rebuff. They will always remember that we do not give up.
“Our army is doing everything to break the enemy completely, 9,000 Russians killed in one week.
“More and more occupiers are fleeing back to Russia, from us, from you, from all those who drive out the enemy with javelins, guns, tanks, helicopters - with everything that shoots.
“I wish you health, native Ukrainians, strong and kind, but not to the enemy.”
Russia claims only 498 of its troops have been killed, while 1,597 have been injured. Ukrainian casualties, by comparison, run into the thousands, with more than 2,000 civilians said to have died since the war began.
What message did Volodymyr Zelensky send to Russia?
In his video message posted on social media, Mr Zelensky said:
“They want to destroy our desert, but they will see only the bottom of the sea because they are the rock bottom.
“The Upenksy Cathedral in Kharkiv became the target. That is one of the oldest orthodox memorials in Ukraine, currently used as a shelter for the residents of Kharkiv, for those who believe and those who don’t.
“Because everyone is equal and that is a holy place now struck by war.
“They are not even afraid of that. They are using the fact that Gods did not have an immediate rebuff. However, God sees everything and God responds. And you will not be able to hide from that. Not in any bunker from God’s response.
“And we will make sure to restore everything to erase all traces of war.
“You could destroy all our Ukrainian cathedrals and churches, we will not destroy our faith.
“Our sincere faith in Ukraine and in God. Faith in people.
“We will restore every building, every street, every town.
“We are saying to Russia, learn about reparations and contributions because you will compensate us for everything you’ve done against us. Against every Ukrainian, in full. And those who died will never be forgotten. We are together with God.
“You came to destroy our cities, to destroy our people, to take everything from us that we hold dear.
“You are cutting electricity, water, heating to peaceful residents. You are leaving people without food, leaving us without medicine, you are shelling at the routes that could be used for evacuation.
“There is no weapon that you haven’t used against us.”
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