Russia holding 26% of Ukraine’s territory - Zelensky
About 26% of the country remains under Russian occupation but everyone can see that the Russians are unable to proceed with major advances, the president told Italy’s RAI, Ukrinform reports.
"It (Ukraine - ed.) is different now, it’s closer to Europe. A lot of appropriate decisions have been made, a lot of diplomatic work with an appropriate result. Today, Ukraine has a more powerful Army. Today, Ukraine has Western equipment and ammunition. Experienced Ukraine. Sometimes a bit tired ... but strong," the president noted.
At the same time, he noted that sometimes Ukraine is annoyed by seeing that, while Russia has already proven to the world that they are just terrorists, some are still trying to balance between Ukraine and Russia. "Some help them evade sanctions. Some still don’t believe that Putin, specifically Putin and his entourage, simply want to kill us all, that they are just terrorists. And some are still looking for alternatives to these words. Nevertheless, this is what Ukraine is like," Zelensky said.
According to the president, sometimes Ukraine might appear impudent in some steps. But this is by no means due to the fact that Ukraine has no culture: “We have it, and all the values are there, but without this strength, without such impudence at times, we simply won’t be heard, and Russia will be able to influence the world and Europe thanks to its media and diplomatic levers, and money.
"And that's why we're making our way into this space. We're spending a lot of effort on it, that's what’s happening," the president emphasized.
He noted that about 26% of the country remains occupied, but at the same time, the Russian army can no longer make powerful advances because the Ukrainians stopped them, and 50% of the territories that had been occupied on February 24, 2022, were liberated.
"Today the country is aware of what war is. Unfortunately, many families have lost their loved ones at the front or saw them wounded. But today we are not alone. And besides journalists from around the world, we were able to rally world leaders. We were able to rally them in terms of both aid and weapons support," the president stressed.
Zelensky believes the most important thing that Ukrainians have been doing for the past two years of full-scale war is defending their country.
"Back then, people were scared. Initially, there was a lot of chaos. There was an unexpected invasion of Ukrainian people and cities involving missile strikes at night. And people were in shock: how can it be that they are killing us with missiles, torture us so easily, and so on... Today, two years on, the most important thing is that we defended our state," the president said.
He emphasized that after the initial fear and chaos were gone, people realized that they had to defend themselves and their land.
"We all got together and started to defend our land, our families. Because there is no alternative. When they’re trying to kill you, you have to defend, defend yourself, and this is a very simple pretext. I think it’s pretty clear. Everyone was defending – both those who knew how to do it and those who didn’t. And only after some time did people start to understand that this is a war with the enemy. Forget the fact that yesterday these were neighbors who talked about friendship. Today they are just murderers," Zelensky said.
As reported, even ahead of the invasion international analysts predicted that Ukraine would stand against the aggressor for a few weeks at most, and that Russia would enjoy full air superiority. However, the full-scale invasion has been going on for almost two years now.
Today, Ukraine is holding back Russian onslaughts in the east and south, inflicting significant losses on the invasion forces, at the same time ehnancing preparations in the rear. Ukraine has been increasing the cohesion of military units, forming brigades of the "new force" and testing new prototypes of e-warfare systems and uncrewed aerial vehicles.
Ukraine rallied the majority of civilized democracies around the world, formed several coalitions in its support, launched the process of becoming part of the EU, and filed a formal application for joining NATO.