"Thank you for every downed target": Zelenskyy praises Ukraine's air defence system and outlines steps to strengthen it. Video
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the servicemen of the anti-aircraft missile troops of the Ukrainian Air Force for each enemy target shot down in the skies over our country. In total, the military shot down more than three thousand targets launched by the Russian occupiers at Ukrainian cities.
We are talking about more than 180 aircraft, 130 helicopters, nearly 40 ballistic and more than a thousand cruise missiles, and more than 1,600 drones of various types. He said this in an address to Ukrainians and the world at the end of the 495th day of the war with Russia (to watch the video, scroll to the bottom of the page).
Zelenskyy stressed that each downed enemy target means thousands of lives saved and hundreds of critical infrastructure preserved.
At the same time, he said that Ukraine does not yet have enough high-quality air defence systems to protect our entire territory and shoot down all enemy targets. The enemy is taking advantage of this and today struck Sumy - Iranian drones hit not only residential buildings but also the SBU building.
"We will do everything possible and impossible to make our air defence system the strongest. Today, General Oleshchuk, the commander of the Air Force, reported to me on our actions to strengthen our air defence. We need the Ukrainian air shield to be able to protect our entire territory from Russian terror, and in the long run, to become the basis for a European air shield. This is absolutely necessary and absolutely possible," the President stressed.
Zelenskyy reminded that more than 1,100 anti-aircraft warriors had received state awards, and eight of them had been awarded the highest title - Hero of Ukraine. These are Colonel Serhiy Yaremenko, Lieutenant Colonels Volodymyr Vesnin, Andrii Kruglov, Serhiy Poberezhets, Artem Sharkov, Dmytro Shumakov, Major Yaroslav Melnyk and Senior Lieutenant Artem Slisarchuk, who was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously.
The politician also spoke about his conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and reminded that Berlin had provided Ukraine with a great deal of assistance in air defence.
"The brilliant German Iris-T systems have proved to be a great asset in defending our skies. We also have the American Patriots, which were given to us by Germany and are very effective. Ukraine is grateful for them, as well as for all other vital assistance!" he stressed.
In today's conversation, the politicians focused on further defence cooperation, as well as on strategic issues of defending Europe, which can only be at peace when peace is guaranteed by full security certainty.
Zelenskyy stressed that there should be no lack of security certainty in Europe, which would provoke Russian tyranny and aggression. Russia will try to "bite off" a piece of Europe only when it sees uncertainty.
"It is obvious that Europe can be protected from any aggression only together with Ukraine and only together with Ukraine in NATO. That is why we must achieve security certainty in our future in the Alliance. Then Russia will have to refocus on its own statehood - to finally take care of itself, not any expansion," the President said.
The Head of State also spoke about the situation at the frontline. He thanked the 35th and 36th Separate Marine Brigades, the 47th Separate Mechanised Brigade "Magura", the 55th Separate Artillery Brigade "Zaporizhzhia Sich", and the 128th Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defence Forces.
The President particularly noted junior lieutenant Oleksandr Pavlov, platoon commander of the 36th Marine Brigade. "His confident and strong actions, skilful command in battle give good results to the state. Thank you!" Zelenskyy said.
He thanked the crew of the T-80 tank under the command of Junior Sergeant Andriy Marchuk for their accuracy and bravery. This is the 36th Marine Brigade.
And from the 35th Brigade, he recognised the tank commander, Junior Sergeant Artem Obrazko, for his true Ukrainian courage and skill during the liberation of Makarivka.
Senior soldier Yevhen Piddubnyi, a sapper with the 47th Mechanised Brigade, is operating in a very hot area and performing his tasks very effectively. Captain Ivan Ogurtsov - operating in the Avdiivka sector, our artillery fire groups under his command are destroying enemy positions and warehouses.
In addition, Zelenskyy mentioned the Maryinka direction. There, an artillery battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pavlo Lukianov does not give the occupiers a moment's rest.
At the same time, the President of Ukraine said that the Kremlin was killing Ukrainian citizen Mikheil Saakashvili at the hands of the current Georgian authorities. He stressed that Mikheil Saakashvili should not be allowed to be killed.
"Ukraine has repeatedly called on the Georgian authorities to stop this demonstrative execution. Both we and our partners offered various options to save Mikheil. Today, I have instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to summon the Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine, to protest and offer him to leave Ukraine within the next 48 hours to hold consultations with his capital, I call on the Georgian authorities to hand over to Ukraine the citizen of Ukraine Mikheil Saakashvili for the necessary treatment and care, and I call on our partners to address, not to ignore this situation and save this man. No government in Europe has the right to execute people, life is a basic European value," the President added.
As reported by OBOZREVATEL, over the last day, 3 July, Russian invaders made three dozen attempts to attack the positions of the Defence Forces. The main directions the enemy is trying to take control of are Bakhmut, Lyman, Maryinka and Avdiivka.