April 23, 2024 3:20 pm
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Zelensky Salutes Ukraine’s Unyielding Courage On Momentous 500th Day of War

President Zelensky Commemorates 500 Days of Russia’s Invasion in Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the 500th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a visit to Snake Island in the Black Sea. Symbolizing Ukraine’s defiance against Russia, the president called the country “the country of the brave.” Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the soldiers and laid flowers on the island. The visit to Turkey that followed saw Zelensky securing NATO support for Ukraine’s aspirations and securing a pledge from the US for cluster munitions to be used against Russian forces. The toll of the war continued to rise with six deaths reported due to Russian rocket fire in the town of Lyman.

President Zelensky’s Visit to Snake Island

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Snake Island in the Black Sea on the 500th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a video shared on social media, Zelensky described the island as a symbol of Ukraine’s indomitable spirit. He thanked the soldiers for their bravery and resilience over the past 500 days.

President Zelensky visiting Snake Island

Zelensky Prays for War Victims

Following his visit to Turkey, President Zelensky joined Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the world’s Orthodox, in prayer for the victims of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The president’s regional tour aimed to gather support ahead of the upcoming NATO summit.

Increasing Toll of the War

The United Nations has documented 9,000 civilian deaths since the start of the war, including 500 children. However, the real toll is believed to be even higher. On the 500th day of the conflict, six people were killed and five injured in the town of Lyman due to Russian rocket fire. The situation continues to be dire for Ukraine’s civilians.

Noel Calhoun, deputy head of the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, described the 500th day of the conflict as “another grim milestone” that continues to take a horrific toll on Ukrainian civilians.

US Backing for Ukraine’s NATO Aspirations

President Zelensky secured a pledge from the United States to provide cluster munitions, despite strong condemnation from humanitarian groups. The decision dramatically raises the stakes in the war. US President Joe Biden acknowledged that supplying Ukraine with such weapons was a difficult decision. Cluster munitions have the potential to inflict significant damage on Russian forces, but also pose a long-term threat to civilians due to their undetonated nature.

Erdogan’s Mediation Efforts

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while trying to position himself as a neutral mediator, has significantly boosted trade with Russia while providing weapons to Ukraine. Erdogan affirmed Ukraine’s NATO aspirations and expressed his belief that Ukraine deserves membership. He also announced an upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two leaders will discuss prisoner swaps and the extension of a grain shipment agreement.

Defiance and Symbolism

The visit to Snake Island holds deep significance for Ukraine. After being captured by Russian forces at the start of the invasion, the island was eventually recaptured by Ukrainian forces. A recording of Ukrainian soldiers defiantly responding to Russia’s demand for surrender became a symbol of resistance, appearing on placards during support rallies abroad and even on stamps. The Russian warship involved in the incident, the Moskva, sank in April 2022 in the Black Sea.

President Zelensky's visit to Snake Island

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