After a somber and defiant day of commemorations on Friday and a marathon press conference, Ukraine’s seemingly indefatigable president followed up with new video posts saying that “Russia must lose in Ukraine” and his forces may be defeated this year. .
In a separate tweet, Volodymyr Zelensky also pushed for further sanctions on Russia after the UK, US and European Union announced new measures aimed at further stifling funding and support for Moscow.
“The pressure on the Russian aggressor must increase,” he tweeted in English.
Zelensky said Ukraine wants to see “decisive steps” against Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Russian nuclear industry, as well as “more pressure on the military and banking.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that Rosatom and his defense ministry must work to make sure Russia is ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if necessary.
He claimed that the United States is working on nuclear weapons and that some in the United States are considering plans to carry out nuclear tests prohibited by the global test ban that took effect after the end of the Cold War.
“If the United States tests, we will also,” Putin said.
Russia has already become the world’s most sanctioned nation over the past year, targeted by more than 30 countries representing more than half of the world’s economy. But the pressure on its economy, trade and companies has not yet delivered a coup de grace.
Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, called the latest US sanctions “thoughtless.”
“We have learned to live under economic and political pressure,” Antonov said. “The experience of previous sanctions has shown that they damage the world market the most, worsen the situation of ordinary citizens in states that initiate or support reckless sanctions.”
On February 24, the anniversary of last year’s invasion, he gave no letup to Russian attacks.
Still, in one of his video posts on Saturday, Zelensky asked: “Is it possible for us to win?”
“Yes,” he said. “We are capable of this in unity, resolutely and uncompromisingly, to end Russian aggression this year.”
Ukraine’s military reported 27 Russian airstrikes and 75 attacks with various rocket launchers in the past 24 hours on Saturday.
He said Russian offensive efforts continue to focus on Ukraine’s industrial east and northeast.
Five injured civilians were reported in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine, where the territory is roughly divided between Russian and Ukrainian control.
In the southern region of Kherson, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin also reported 83 Russian shelling attacks, with the regional capital, also called Kherson, hit nine times, and houses, a daycare center and a medical center hit.
The head of the Ukrainian presidential office reported three wounded civilians in the region.