Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community to take part in a summit on his peace plan. "The more countries participate, the more support we have," said Zelenskyy at a press conference on the first anniversary of the war in Kiev on Friday.
The summit should be attended not only by Ukraine's western partners, but also by Latin American countries, African countries, as well as China and India, he said. A date for the summit has not yet been set.
Zelenskyy's "Ukrainian peace formula" includes the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, the release of all prisoners of war, a tribunal against Russian war criminals, and security guarantees for Ukraine.
"On our side is the truth"
Currently, Kiev is demanding more and better weapons, including tanks, fighter jets and long-range missiles; also money to finance the state budget and a "new diplomacy" with more pressure on war opponents Russia.
Selenskyj continued to be confident of victory at the appointment. "If we all do our homework, victory will inevitably await us," said the 45-year-old at a press conference in Kiev on Friday. It is important that everyone is focused and doing their job. "We will win, because the truth is on our side," said Zelenskyj.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and has since annexed several Ukrainian territories in violation of international law. Including the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, Russian troops currently occupy around a fifth of Ukraine's territory.
Minute of silence in front of St. Sophia Cathedral
Selenskyj had previously acknowledged the resistance of his compatriots. "It's been a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity," the 45-year-old said today. On February 24th a year ago, many would have made their choice. "Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow flag," he said. "Don't flee, but stand up. Resistance and fight," Zelenskyj wrote on Twitter for an emotional video with pictures of the Ukrainians' struggle. "We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory," Zelenskyy continued.
A few hours later, the Ukrainian head of state gave a speech in front of the famous St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. In military green clothing, he honored soldiers with medals, as a reporter from the German Press Agency reported from the site of the ceremony.
Head bowed, Zelenskyi also observed a minute's silence for the many Ukrainian victims of the war. High security precautions had been taken for the event, which was held in sub-zero temperatures, and the area was cordoned off over a large area.
Selenskyj: "And today we are exactly one year"
In a video message published on the website of the Presidential Office, Zelenskyi also addressed all Ukrainians - and recalled the "longest day of our lives": the first day of the war on February 24, 2022. "We woke up early and haven't been able to sleep since." , said the 45-year-old. Despite the shock, everyone immediately felt what had to be done: "We didn't know what tomorrow would bring, but we understood exactly: you have to fight for every tomorrow!" Forecasts that Ukraine could hold out for a maximum of 72 hours have not come true. "And today we are exactly one year."
The head of state listed several cities particularly hard hit by Russian attacks: Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Kramatorsk. "We saw Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka. It became clear to the whole world what 'Russian world' really means," Zelenskyj warned.
At the same time he turned to the Ukrainians in the more Russian-occupied regions. "Ukraine will not let you down, forget and give up," said the head of state. All territories would be liberated, he promised. And addressing the millions of refugees abroad, he emphasized: "We will do everything to ensure that you can return to Ukraine."
Klitschko: Will survive everything and win
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko spoke of a "tragic and mentally exhausting" year. "But we fight, we believe in ourselves and in our country. That's why we will survive everything and win," he wrote on his Telegram channel and published a video message.
While many Ukrainians did not believe in a "barbaric war" by Russia, the capital prepared for the possible attack. "Volunteers who entered the territorial defense and our military helped protect and hold the capital." Russian troops advanced to the suburbs of the capital after the start of the war on February 24, but did not get far.
"Kiev is the heart of Ukraine, Kiev was and remains a target of Russia, the Russians and Putin," Klitschko said in an interview with the German Press Agency on Wednesday. At the same time, the 51-year-old emphasized that he did not believe that Russia could succeed in a new attack on the capital. "I don't think Russia will win."