Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Russians that their leader is destroying their country
Zelensky accused Russia of “following the devil” and waging a war to ensure that its President Vladimir Putin remained in power “until the end of his life”.
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“All this war that you are waging, you – Russia, it is not the war with NATO, as your propagandists lie…It is not for something historical. It’s for one person to remain in power until the end of his life. And what will be with all of you, citizens of Russia, does not concern him” Zelensky claimed.
Speaking after Vladimir Putin delivered his New Year address flanked by people in military uniform, Zelensky said the Russian president was hiding behind his troops, not leading them.
Following a day of strikes across Ukraine on Saturday Zelensky also said Ukrainians would not forgive Russia.
BBC reports: In an address on his Telegram channel, Mr Zelensky said those who carried out Saturday’s attacks were inhuman.
Switching from Ukrainian to Russian, he then attacked Mr Putin.
“Your leader wants to show you that he’s leading from the front, and his military is behind him,” he said.
“But in fact he is hiding. He’s hiding behind his military, his missiles, the walls of his residences and palaces.
“He’s hiding behind you, and he’s burning your country and your future. No-one will forgive you for terror. No-one in the world will forgive you for that. Ukraine will not forgive.”
Mr Zelensky later gave a new year’s address to the Ukrainian people, thanking them for their “incredible” efforts in repelling Russian advances.
“We fight as one team – the whole country, all our regions. I admire you all. I want to thank every invincible region of Ukraine,” he said.
Mr Putin also issued a new year address which was broadcast for each of Russia’s 11 time zones as they saw in 2023.
The Russian leader tried to rally people behind his troops fighting in Ukraine, saying the country’s future was at stake.
In combative mood, Mr Putin said: “We always knew, and today it is confirmed to us yet again, that a sovereign, independent and secure future for Russia depends only on us, on our strength and will.”
He presented the invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory as “defending our people and our historical lands” and said “moral, historical rightness is on our side”.
Mr Putin also accused the West of “provoking” Moscow to launch its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
“The West lied about peace. It was preparing for aggression… and now they are cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and split Russia,” he said.
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