By Lidia Kelly

(Reuters) – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy honoured his individuals’s resilience in occasions of bloodshed in a protracted and lyrical New 12 months speech, whereas Russian chief Vladimir Putin harassed his nation’s unity in a brief and stern message that made solely passing reference to the warfare.

The speeches – conventional Dec. 31 messages in each Russia and Ukraine – got here as each nations marked the top of the yr with elevated air assaults on one another’s territories. However neither aspect can level to any main frontline achievements in 2023.

“The most important results of the yr, its essential achievement: Ukraine has develop into stronger,” Zelenskiy stated in a televised handle interspersed with footage of cities beneath assault and conferences with leaders of Ukraine’s Western allies.

Mentioning “warfare” 14 occasions in his 20-minute message, Zelenskiy additionally vowed, similar to a yr in the past, {that a} free Ukraine would prevail.

“Regardless of what number of rockets the enemy launches, regardless of what number of shellings and assaults – vile, cruel, large – the enemy carries out in an try to interrupt Ukrainians, intimidate, knock Ukraine down, drive it underground, we are going to nonetheless rise,” he stated, wearing his trademark khaki outfit.

Feedback by Putin, who faces an election in March, offered a pointy distinction to these of Zelenskiy and in addition to his personal speech final yr, when he forged the warfare as a near-existential struggle.

This yr, he known as Russia’s troopers “our heroes,” however didn’t point out Ukraine by title and didn’t consult with the “particular army operation” – his time period for the warfare his invasion unleashed in February 2022.

“We have now confirmed greater than as soon as that we will resolve essentially the most tough issues and can by no means retreat, as a result of there is no such thing as a power that may divide us,” Putin stated in a four-minute speech, wearing a swimsuit and a crimson tie towards a backdrop of the Kremlin partitions.

“We’re one nation, one huge household.”

The warfare – the deadliest battle in Europe since World Struggle II – is nearing its second anniversary, with no sign of ending. Hundreds have been killed, thousands and thousands of Ukrainians displaced and numerous cities turned to rubble.

Neither Putin nor Zelenskiy referred to the 1,000-km (600-mile) entrance line the place Kyiv’s counteroffensive had little success and the place Moscow has been pushing on with its most up-to-date however sluggish offensive alongside the jap flank aiming to take management of extra Ukrainian territory.

And whereas Zelenskiy spoke of 6,000 or so air raid alerts in Ukraine previously yr, Putin made no point out of any assaults – not even an assault Russia says Ukraine carried out on Belgorod in latest days killing a minimum of 24 civilians.

Each spoke of the power of their nations and their individuals, with Putin saying the longer term frequent effort will make Russia and its individuals stronger and Zelenskiy saying the warfare had already confirmed the power of Ukrainians.

“And similar to final December 31, as we speak, we are saying: ‘We do not know for certain what the New 12 months will convey us’,” Zelenskiy stated. “However this yr we will add: ‘It doesn’t matter what it introduced, we might be stronger’.”

(Aditional reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar in Kyiv and Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg; Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne: Enhancing by Neil Fullick)

At present Information Prime Newsmaac


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here