Zelensky: thanks to our soldiers for this day, we will do everything to make Russia answer for what it has done
President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the Defense Forces of Ukraine for the gradual liberation of the state from the Russian occupation army, as well as those thanks to whom today it was possible to return our defenders from Russian captivity. He also recalled the volunteers, rescuers, and law enforcement officers who continue to evacuate Ukrainians from towns that were flooded after the occupants blew up the Kakhovka hydropower plant.
The head of state said this in an address to Ukrainians and the world at the end of the 473 days of the war with Russia (to see the video, scroll to the end of the page).
Zelensky noted that 95 of our men - privates and sergeants and two officers - returned from captivity.
"I thank our team: Budanov, Yermak, Malyuk, Lubinets, who are dealing with the exchanges, thank you for this result. Well done, guys! We must get every Ukrainian, every Ukrainian out of the Russian captivity," stressed the head of state.
The president also thanked the brigades and units that are on the front line.
"To each of our combat brigade, to each of our units. OSUV "Khortitsa", "Tavria" - all those who are now in combat, all those who are in positions, all those who help... I thank you! Thank you for every step, for every battle, for every destroyed occupant! Glory to our heroes! Glory to all who defend the life of Ukraine and Ukrainians!" - said the leader.
He reminded that the rescue operation in the flooded parts of the south continues, already about 4 thousand people managed to evacuate. Dozens of towns and villages remain flooded, the worst situation is still in the temporarily occupied part of Kherson region.
"Again and again we thank our people: military, police, rescuers. Thanks separately to the volunteers, doctors, local authorities - everyone who is helping now to save people after the disaster at the Kakhovka HPP, and especially thanks to those who are helping to get people out, in particular from the occupied territories. It is extremely difficult, dangerous, it is a special heroism. Thank you for every life saved!" - said the president.
At the same time, he stressed that the occupants continue shelling evacuation routes, evacuation points, and boats carrying people. Just today, as a result of one such shelling, three people were killed, ten more people were wounded, including two police officers.
"It was an evacuation from Kardashinka, a village on the left bank of the Kherson region... The occupants created this disaster by blowing up the dam, leaving people to their fate in flooded towns and villages and still shelling boats after that on which people are being taken away... Even beasts are more moral than you, the Russian state," the president stressed.
He also said that representatives of the International Criminal Court had visited the Kherson region. On the first day after the catastrophe, an appeal was sent to the Office of the Prosecutor of this institution regarding the investigation of this catastrophe, and the work has already begun.
"We are already facilitating and will continue to facilitate the most independent and objective investigation by the International Criminal Court. All of our law enforcement and other institutions are involved in this process as much as possible. Full access to the affected areas, to witnesses, to all information and evidence. This investigation is very important for the security of the whole world," he added.
Zelensky once again stressed: full and fair responsibility of Russian terrorists and the terrorist state itself is a prerequisite for ensuring that there will be no repetition of such evil in the world.
The head of state also recalled that new sanctions have been imposed against those who "serve the evil that the Russian state has become."
"Against those who helped destroy freedom on the territory of Russia and perform one of the key roles in the repressions on our temporarily occupied territory and on the territory of Russia itself. 178 exactly such persons were added to our sanctions lists at the suggestion of the Security Service of Ukraine. And we will make sure that each and every one of this list of helpers of the Russian dictatorship is really responsible for everything they have done against people and freedom. For every broken fate and every criminal decision that helped Russia turn into a terrorist state," summed up the president of Ukraine.
As reported by OBOZREVATEL, the Defense Ministry of Ukraine said that the Bakhmut direction continues to storm. According to the department, Blagodatne and Makarivka are de-occupied.