Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is promising to take back parts of Ukraine and has vowed to “liberate” the Russian territory of Crimea and Donetsk and Lugansk – two independent republics.
Zelensky made these promises just hours after it was reported that residential buildings, a maternity hospital and a marketplace had been shelled by the Ukrainian military in the center of Donetsk.
“We will come to all our cities, to all our villages, which do not yet have our flag,” Zelensky said in a video address on Monday night.
The Ukrainian president also bragged that his army would defeat Russia in the east and recapture cities that have fallen to the Russians since the beginning of the invasion – Mariupol, Kherson, and Melitopol.
“And I ask everyone who has such an opportunity to communicate with people in the occupied south…say that there will be liberation,” he continued, “say it to Gorlovka, Donetsk, Lugansk. Tell them that the Ukrainian army will definitely come.”
“Of course, we will liberate our Crimea as well. Let every Russian official who has seized precious land in Crimea remember this is not the land where they will have peace,” he threatened.
The two regions and Crimea do not want to be part of Ukraine, however, and in 2014, Crimea voted in droves to rejoin Russia. Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence from Ukraine in February of this year, part of the reason why the conflict ended up in war.
Not long ago, those who were taking sides against Russia, were shocked and appalled by an apparent maternity hospital being bombed by Russia – Zelensky himself has no qualms about doing this too – a maternity hospital was hit by Ukrainian forces.
Dozens of injuries also resulted from the shelling of a marketplace and a residential area, including an 11-year-old boy and his mother who were found amongst the rubble, according to Donetsk officials.
There were also reports that as many as 300 rockets and heavy artillery shells hit the city over a period of two hours and the shells they used in the attack – with their own people in the area – were supplied by NATO.
There was also a promise made by Zelensky – who in his former career was an actor who played the Ukrainian president on television – that the Ukrainian flag will once again fly high above Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea, but the capabilities of the Ukrainian military remain in doubt.
According to the BBC, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to President Zelensky, said that Ukraine is losing between 100 and 200 troops per day and that the Russians are continuing to advance in the Donbass region.
Podoliak also begged the West to provide him with more than 1,000 155mm howitzers, the same ammunition used in the assault and had a wish list that included multiple launch rocket systems.
“It only takes enough weapons to make it happen,” Zelensky said on Monday night. “The partners have it. In sufficient quantities. And we work every day for the political will to make these weapons appear.”
The Ukrainian president has often spoken of working out a peace deal with his neighbor, but this usually follows with threats to retake Donbass and Crimea.
Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement last month that Zelensky makes “statements that contradict each other,” making it “impossible to fully understand [Kiev’s] intentions and whether it is ready to take a sober approach and acknowledge the real state of affairs.”