Kyiv: Ukraine’s president pledged to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians on Friday marked the sombre first anniversary of the Russian invasion that changed their lives. As dawn broke on a day of commemorations and defiance, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that Ukrainians had proven themselves to be “invincible” in what he called “a year of pain, sorrow, faith, and unity.”
“We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory!” the tweet said.
On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but the blue and yellow one. Not fleeing, but facing. Resisting & fighting.
It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith, and unity. And this year, we remained invincible. We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory! pic.twitter.com/oInWvssjOI
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2023
Ukrainians planned memorials, candle vigils, and other remembrances for their tens of thousands of dead a toll growing all the time as fighting rages in eastern Ukraine in particular.
There were concerns that Russia might unleash another barrage of missiles against Ukraine to pile yet more sadness on the day. Mercifully, air raid alarms did not sound overnight in the capital, Kyiv, and dawn broke quietly.
Still, the government recommended that schools move classes online and office employees were asked to work from home. Tributes to Ukraine’s resilience flowed from overseas. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was among the monuments illuminated in Ukraine’s colours yellow and blue.