Ukrainian President Commemorates 500 Days of War, Applauds Soldiers from Black Sea Island

by Gabriel Martinez
1 comment
Ukraine-Russia conflict

To mark the significant milestone of 500 days since the war began, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine expressed his admiration for the country’s brave soldiers in a heartfelt video. Filmed on a Black Sea island that has come to symbolize Ukraine’s unwavering resilience in the face of the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy paid tribute to the defenders of the island and all those who have fought valiantly for their nation. The recapture of the island, according to Zelenskyy, stands as a resounding testament to Ukraine’s determination to reclaim every inch of its territory.

“I extend my sincere gratitude, from this victorious place, to each and every one of our soldiers who have stood strong for these 500 days,” Zelenskyy expressed. “Thank you to all those who continue to fight for Ukraine!”

In other news:

  • The new president of Latvia, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, is sworn into office.
  • Uzbekistan’s leader is expected to secure a landslide victory in the presidential election.
  • President Biden’s upcoming trip to Europe includes discussions with a monarch and deliberations on matters of war.

The exact date of the video’s recording remains unclear as Zelenskyy was in Turkey on the day it was released.

Russian forces seized control of the small stone island on February 24, 2022, the same day they initiated their invasion. This strategic move was believed to be an attempt to establish a launching point for an assault on Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port and home to its navy.

The island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance when its defenders allegedly responded to a demand for surrender from a Russian warship with a defiant message: “Go (expletive) yourself.” Although the Ukrainian soldiers were initially captured, they were later freed in a prisoner exchange. Subsequently, the Ukrainian military launched a vigorous bombardment of the Russian garrison on the island, compelling the Russians to withdraw on June 30, 2022. This retreat mitigated the threat of a seaborne attack on Odesa, ultimately facilitating an agreement to resume Ukrainian grain exports.

Zelenskyy passionately declared, “May the freedom sought by our heroes throughout history and currently pursued become a tribute to all those who have laid down their lives for Ukraine. Victory is assured!”

On Saturday, intense battles continued to rage in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine as Ukrainian forces pressed forward in their counteroffensive against the heavily fortified Russian positions.

According to Ukraine’s interior ministry, a Russian rocket strike on the town of Lyman early Saturday claimed the lives of eight civilians and left 13 others wounded. Images shared by Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, depicted the victims, including a body lying beside a bicycle and body fragments scattered near a damaged vehicle. Kyrylenko condemned the Russian terrorists for persistently targeting civilians in Donetsk.

Lyman, situated just a few kilometers from the front line, suffered damage to a private residence, a shop, and several cars during the attack. Meanwhile, Russian troops intensified their fighting in the forests of Kreminna.

The latest intelligence update from the U.K. Ministry of Defense reported that the town of Bakhmut, which fell under Russian control in May, has witnessed some of the most fierce clashes along the front in the past week. The report indicated that Ukrainian forces have made steady progress both north and south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, suggesting that the Russian defenders are facing challenges with morale, fragmented units, and limited capability to locate and strike Ukrainian artillery.

As tensions escalated surrounding the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, both Russia and Ukraine accused each other of plotting to sabotage the facility, raising concerns of a potential radiation catastrophe. Ukrainian military intelligence claimed that Russian troops had planted additional mines around the plant, although this assertion could not be independently verified.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the United Nations nuclear agency, stated in an interview with The Big Big News that International Atomic Energy Agency experts had been granted greater access to the site, including the cooling pond and fuel storage areas. No mines were found in these locations. However, Grossi expressed his continued determination to gain access to the rooftops of the reactors, where Ukrainian officials alleged that Russia had planted explosives.

As the focus remained on the plant, the Russian military maintained that it successfully repelled Ukrainian attacks across various sections of the front. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to firing ranges, where volunteer soldiers are undergoing training, was broadcasted on Saturday. This visit occurred two weeks after a failed mutiny led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner troops attempted to march on Moscow in an effort to overthrow Shoigu.

Prigozhin eventually agreed to end the mutiny, which posed the most significant threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his lengthy tenure. In return, he and his troops received amnesty and were permitted to relocate to Belarus. Russian messaging app channels featured comments from one of Wagner’s commanders, Anton Yelizarov, indicating that the mercenaries are currently on leave but will eventually deploy to Belarus.

Meanwhile, intense battles along the front lines in Ukraine continue unabated, as NATO leaders prepare to convene in Vilnius for a two-day summit. The purpose of the summit is to offer further assistance in modernizing Ukraine’s armed forces, establish a new high-level forum for consultations, and reaffirm the commitment to Ukraine’s future inclusion in the alliance.

In anticipation of the NATO summit, the United States has announced its decision to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine, a move described by President Joe Biden as a “difficult decision.” While two-thirds of NATO members have banned the use of cluster munitions due to their tendency to cause civilian casualties, the U.S. views their provision as a means to bolster Ukraine’s offensive capabilities and break through Russian front lines.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov praised the U.S. decision, emphasizing that the cluster munitions would be used exclusively for the liberation of occupied territories and not targeted towards proper Russian territory. Reznikov assured that urban areas would be spared to prevent harm to civilians and clarified that the munitions would be deployed in the field to minimize risks to the lives of Ukrainian soldiers.

For the latest updates on the war in Ukraine, please visit: https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine-Russia conflict

When did the war between Ukraine and Russia start?

The war between Ukraine and Russia started on February 24, 2022, when Russian forces launched their invasion.

What significance does the Black Sea island hold for Ukraine?

The Black Sea island became a symbol of Ukraine’s resilience in the face of the Russian invasion. It was recaptured by Ukrainian forces and stands as a testament to Ukraine’s determination to regain its territory.

What happened to the Ukrainian soldiers defending the Black Sea island?

Initially captured by Russian forces, the Ukrainian soldiers were later freed as part of a prisoner exchange.

Has there been any progress in the conflict?

Intense battles continue to rage in eastern and southern Ukraine as Ukrainian forces press their counteroffensive against heavily fortified Russian positions.

Is there any risk to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant?

Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of planning to sabotage the plant. However, the head of the United Nations nuclear agency has stated that no mines were found in critical areas of the plant.

What is NATO’s involvement in the conflict?

NATO leaders are set to meet and offer assistance in modernizing Ukraine’s armed forces. They will also discuss the future inclusion of Ukraine in the alliance.

What is the U.S.’s decision regarding cluster munitions?

The U.S. has decided to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine to bolster its offensive capabilities against Russian front lines.

How is the situation impacting civilians?

Civilians have been casualties of the conflict, with reports of civilian deaths and injuries in towns near the front lines, such as Lyman.

What is the current state of the conflict?

The conflict is ongoing, with intense battles, strategic movements, and ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

More about Ukraine-Russia conflict

  • AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: Stay updated with the latest news and developments regarding the war between Ukraine and Russia.
  • NATO Official Website: Explore NATO’s official website for information on their involvement and support in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
  • United Nations Nuclear Agency: Visit the website of the International Atomic Energy Agency for updates on their inspections and findings regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
  • U.S. Department of Defense: Access the official website of the U.S. Department of Defense for information on their decisions and actions related to the conflict and cluster munitions supply.
  • Latvia Government Official Website: Learn more about the new president of Latvia and their stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

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1 comment

Anna123 July 9, 2023 - 12:14 pm

it’s good to see zelenskyy honoring the soldiers and acknowledging their sacrifice. they deserve recognition for their bravery!


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