Zelenskyy promises victory over Russia on “Day of Dignity and Freedom”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday celebrated the “Day of Dignity and Freedom” by praising the sacrifices made by the Ukrainian people since the beginning of the war and saying that his country will stand firm and win at a time when the Kremlin vowed to find those responsible for the killing of a group of Russian soldiers in Ukraine and punish them for what it called an “execution”. Kyiv said these soldiers were killed after a mock surrender.
In a video address to the people, Zelensky recognized the contributions of Ukrainians, from soldiers, firefighters and medics to teachers offering online classes, villagers preparing food for the army, tailors sewing uniforms and farmers who, despite plow their fields of danger.
He also commended the people’s ability to challenge despite the repeated rocket attacks, widespread destruction and power outages with the onset of winter, nearly nine months into the war.
“We can remain without money, without gas, without hot water, without electricity, but not without freedom,” said Zelenskyy in his speech from the presidential palace in the capital Kyiv.
The Day of Dignity and Freedom commemorates the pro-EU protests that took place in 2013 and 2014, which became known as the Maidan Revolution or Revolution of Dignity, and the Orange Revolution in 2004. In both revolutions, the Ukrainian leadership was overthrown.
On the other hand, the Kremlin vowed yesterday to find those responsible for the murder of a group of Russian soldiers in Ukraine and to punish them for what it called an “execution”. They must be found and punished.”
He added that Moscow will turn to international bodies for this purpose “if it might be useful”.
On Friday, Russia accused Ukraine of executing more than 10 of its soldiers after they laid down their arms, based on videos posted to social media.
In one of the videos, about 10 soldiers, who appear to be Russians, come out of hiding one after the other with their hands up and then lie face down on the ground, apparently on orders from Ukrainian soldiers, who point their guns you.
The video ends abruptly as shadows of other people emerge from the shelter and appear to have fired. Another video clip, filmed by a drone, shows the same location with about 10 soldiers’ bodies lying in bloodstains.
Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said the day before yesterday the videos showed an “imaginary surrender” and that the Russian soldiers had “committed a war crime by opening fire on Ukrainian forces”.
“The Russian soldiers killed in this incident therefore cannot be considered prisoners of war,” he added.
The emergence of videos that appear to show the shooting of surrendering Russian soldiers has sparked an international investigation.
A spokesman for the UN human rights office in Geneva said yesterday that he was aware of the reports.
“Allegations of summary executions of persons who are ‘hors de combat’ must be promptly, fully and effectively investigated,” he added, using a French term of international law that means they are not involved in or not engaged in active combat able to conduct combat missions in war.
According to experts consulted by the New York Times, the videos are authentic, although much remains unclear about the images’ background.
On Friday, Russia accused Ukraine of executing more than 10 of its soldiers after they laid down their arms.
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