Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed to “bring back freedom” to the people of Ukraine as he addressed the nation on Christmas Eve, just hours after a fresh round of Russian attacks killed at least 10 people and wounded more than 60 others.
He urged Ukrainians to persevere through a tough winter — despite the death and destruction, power cuts, and the constant threat of Russian strikes.
Zelenskiy said Ukrainians have endured “attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror, and missile strikes” since Russia invaded the country 10 months ago.
“Freedom comes at a high price, slavery has an even higher price,” Zelenskiy said in a video message issued late on December 24.
“Let us get through this winter because we know what we are fighting for,” he said.
The president paid tribute to Ukrainians who were spending Christmas in Russian captivity and those who had to flee abroad because of the brutal invasion.
“We will bring back freedom to all Ukrainian men and women,” he vowed.
Just hours before Zelenskiy’s address, at least 10 people were killed and some 60 others wounded in Russian strikes in the southern port city of Kherson.
The president condemned the attack calling it an act of terror that targeted civilians on the eve of Christmas.
Zelenskiy shared the photos from the scene of the attack that depicted bloodied bodies on pavements, vehicles on fire, and large plumes of black smoke rising from near an apartment block.
“It is the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” the president wrote on his Telegram account on December 24, and accused Russian forces of “killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure.”
Most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians, and for the centuries they have marked Christmas on January 7, like in Russia.
But following Russia’s invasion of the country, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine allowed its congregations to celebrate Christmas on December 25 along with most of the Western world. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)