(The Hill) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told his people on Monday they would prevail over Russian invaders, assuring them their land was “sown with bullets and shells, but no enemy was able to take root here.”
Zelensky marked Victory Day — one of the most important holidays in Russia observing the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II — with a recorded address as Ukrainian forces continue to fight against Russian forces nearly three months after the invasion began.
“Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “There are no shackles that can bind our free spirit. There is no occupier who can take root in our free land. There is no invader who can rule over our free people. Sooner or later we win.”
Ukraine has put up stiff resistance to Moscow’s invasion, beating back Russian troops from the capital region of Kyiv and pushing back against a renewed offensive in the eastern Donbas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has justified the invasion as a “special military operation” intended to “denazify” Ukraine and rescue its people from western control, also observed Victory Day.
Speaking at Red Square in Moscow, Putin compared the Soviet Union fighting against Nazi aggressors to Russian forces in Ukraine, according to The Associated Press, saying Russia was “fighting for the Motherland, so that no one will forget the lessons of World War II and there will be no place in the world for hangmen, executioners and the Nazis.”
He called Ukraine a “threat that was absolutely unacceptable to us [that] has been methodically created next to our borders.”
In his speech, Zelensky, who is Jewish, compared Russia to Nazi Germany and countered Putin’s Nazism claims, saying “millions of Ukrainians fought Nazism and went through a difficult and long journey.”
“On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory,” the Ukrainian president said. “The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win.”