© Reuters. A Christmas tree is seen in front of an Orthodox cathedral during a service on the eve of Christmas, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 24, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
By David Ljunggren
(Reuters) – Ukrainians will create their own miracle this Christmas by showing they remain unbowed despite Russian attacks that have plunged millions into darkness, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a defiant message on Saturday.
Speaking 10 months to the day since Russian launched a war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions more, Zelenskiy said that while freedom came at a high price, slavery would cost even more.
“We endured at the beginning of the war – we withstood attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror, missile strikes. We will endure this winter because we know what we are fighting for,” he said.
Relentless Russian missile and drone attacks since October have caused massive damage to the power-generating system, regularly leaving major cities without water and heat.
Zelenskiy made his remarks in a video address to Ukrainians who celebrate Christmas in December. Most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians and mark the occasion in early January.
“Even in complete darkness, we will find each other to hug each other tightly. And if there is no heat, we will embrace each other for a long time to warm one another,” he said.
“We will smile and be happy, as always. There is one difference – we will not wait for a miracle, since we are creating it ourselves.”
The clip, which lasted just under nine minutes, was filmed outside at night with just a few white lights and a Christmas tree in the background.
Zelenskiy noted Ukrainian troops were fighting battles in the eastern Donbas region while others were in exile both home and abroad, having fled the Russians.
“We have been fighting them for more than 300 days and eight years. Will we allow them to achieve what they want?” he said, referring to Russia’s 2014 occupation of Crimea.