WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
- Ukrainian President Zelensky marks the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine with a message of mourning, defiance, and hope.
- Former Russian President Medvedev insists that “victory will be achieved” for Russia and that “the borders of Poland” threaten Russia.
- The U.N. votes in favor of a resolution demanding Russian forces leave Ukrainian territory.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a message of mourning, defiance, and hope.
In a tweet, Zelensky stated, “Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one. Not fleeing, but facing. Resisting and fighting.”
On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one. Not fleeing, but facing. Resisting & fighting.
It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith, and unity. And this year, we remained invincible. We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory! pic.twitter.com/oInWvssjOI— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2023
His words were accompanied by a video showing Ukrainians fighting on the battlefield and sheltering from explosions. Zelensky’s message of victory in 2023 was mirrored by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who insisted that “victory will be achieved” for Russia, even suggesting that “the borders of Poland” threaten Russia.
In Moscow, there were no major public events planned to mark the grim milestone of the war. However, earlier in the week, President Vladimir Putin briefly appeared at a concert rally where images of the mayhem in Ukraine were played on giant screens to a cheering crowd as pop stars performed. Firework displays lit up the skies over Russia on Thursday to mark its Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Medvedev argues that a deal will eventually have to be negotiated to end the bloodshed, but that such an agreement won’t have “fundamental agreements on real borders.” This has alarmed the U.S. and its allies, as any attack on Poland’s borders would put Russia into direct conflict with NATO. In Poland this week, Joe Biden vowed to “defend literally every inch of NATO.”
Medvedev’s threat to Poland comes after Russian intelligence claimed this week that Ukraine is preparing a false-flag attack on Moldova, in which Kyiv’s forces would dress in Russian fatigues during a fake invasion.
The symbolic displays of unity were coupled with a concrete statement of support from the U.N. which overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution demanding that Russian forces leave Ukrainian territory. Some 141 nations backed the non-binding resolution while 32 countries – among them India and China – abstained. Just seven countries, including Russia and its allies Belarus and North Korea, voted against.
The exact number of casualties in the war in Ukraine is unclear, though Russian independent Conflict Investigation Team suggested that between 130,000 and 270,000 Russians had been killed or wounded in the fighting. The Norwegian military claimed in January that Ukraine may have suffered as many as 100,000 military casualties of its own, along with 30,000 civilian deaths.