President Volodmyr Zelensky assured on Sunday (19) that Ukraine “will not give the south of the country to anyone” after visiting the region of the country. However, NATO gave a cruel perspective by saying that the war in Ukraine could last “years”.
In a rare trip out of Kiev, where he has spent most of his time for security reasons since the Russian offensive began in late February, Zelensky traveled to Mikolaiv last Saturday (18) and for the first time visited troops stationed near Odessa.
“We will not give the south to anyone, we will take everything back, the sea will be Ukrainian and it will be safe,” he said, in a video posted on Telegram after returning to Kiev.
“They are confident and, looking into their eyes, it is obvious that they do not doubt their victory,” added Zelensky, referring to his troops.
However, his optimism collided with the bleak prospects outlined by Oran Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said in an interview published on Sunday in the German newspaper Bild that the war in Ukraine could last “years” and therefore the Western countries should anticipate lasting support for the country.
“We must not waver in our support for Ukraine, even if the costs are high. Not just in terms of military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices,” he said.
“The will to live of our people”
For weeks, Russian troops focused their actions on eastern and southern Ukraine after failing to take the capital, Kiev, after the invasion began.
“The losses are significant, many houses have been destroyed, civilian logistics are affected and there are many social problems,” admitted Zelenski.
“I asked that people who lost their loved ones receive more assistance. We will rebuild everything that was destroyed. Russian missiles are less than our people’s will to live,” he said.
A video released by the Ukrainian presidency showed Zelensky with the local governor, Vitalii Kim, in Mikolaiv, in front of the destroyed facade of the regional administration headquarters, the target of a Russian attack in March that left 37 dead.
The port and industrial city, which had half a million inhabitants before the war, is still under Ukrainian control, but it is close to Kherson, a region practically occupied by the Russians.
In addition, Ukraine’s largest port is located on the road to Odessa, about 130 km to the southwest, which is also under Ukrainian control and at the center of negotiations, as there are millions of tons of Ukrainian grain blocked.
Russia, which controls an area of the Black Sea, argues that the waters are mined.