Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia could do something “particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on August 24 — a day that also marks six months of the invasion of Moscow.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukraine’s president has warned that Russia could do something “particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday — a day that also marks six months of the invasion of Moscow.
In his late-night address on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to be strong and keep fighting as the country prepared on August 24 to mark its independence from the Soviet government.
“We should be aware that Russia may try to do something special this week, something very cruel,” he said without providing details.
He claimed that one of Russia’s main goals is to “devalue our capabilities” and spread despair, fear and conflict.
“That’s why it’s important never, for a moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to get agitated, not to show any weakness.”
Ukraine will celebrate its 31st Independence Day on Wednesday — marking six months since the unprovoked invasion of Russia, referred to by Moscow as a “special military operation”.
“A major milestone lies ahead — six months into this large-scale invasion,” Zelenskyy said in his video message, calling it “the war that changed everything for Ukraine, for Europe and for the world.”
More than 5,500 civilians have been killed and nearly 7,700 injured in Ukraine from the start of the war to August 15, according to the United Nations Human Rights Office.
“Most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of high-area-effect explosive weapons, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple missile launchers, missiles and air strikes,” according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. .
Separately, Russian state media accused Ukrainian troops of launching an artillery attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Located in the southeast of the city of Enerhodar, the nuclear power plant was taken by Moscow early in the war.
Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Ukrainian armed forces have regularly attacked the Zaporizhzhya facility in recent weeks, risking a large-scale nuclear disaster.
Both Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the power plant.
NBC News reported that the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea was hit by a drone early Saturday.
The headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Sevatsopol, Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
“A drone flew to the roof,” Russia-appointed governor of occupied Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.
NBC News was unable to independently verify photos and a video posted online that appeared to show a plume of smoke emanating from fleet headquarters.