Last war in Ukraine: China’s ‘peace plan’ is tarnished by its support for Russia, Western officials say

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to defeat Russia in 2023 as Ukraine marked the solemn anniversary of the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia and a year that forever changed the country and turned the global order upside down.

“On this day a year ago, around 7 a.m., I addressed you from the same place with a short statement that lasted only 67 seconds,” the president said in a morning address, recalling his morning speech he gave held when bombs fell over Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“Two of the most important things then and now resonated . . . The fact that Russia has launched an all-out war against us. And that we are strong. We are prepared for anything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine!”

In his anniversary speech, Zelenskyy called February 24 “the longest day of our lives. The most difficult day in our recent history. We woke up early and haven’t slept since.”

The past 365 days have been “a year of resilience. year of courage. A year of pain. A year of hope. A year of aging. A year of unity. The year of invincibility.” As the war enters its second year, the Ukrainian president said that “our victory is inevitable. It is close. It will happen.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walks with US President Joe Biden in front of St. Michael's Cathedral in Kiev last week

Volodymyr Zelenskyy with US President Joe Biden outside St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kiev earlier this week © Evan Vucci/AP

Speaking defiantly from his presidential office, wearing a black sweatshirt with a gold trident, Ukraine’s coat of arms, he said Ukrainians “didn’t raise the white flag but started defending the blue and yellow one” when the invasion broke out.

Ukrainians “weren’t afraid, didn’t break down, didn’t give up,” said Zelenskyy. He recalled the defiant acts that marked the first hours of the Russian invasion, including the famous response by Ukrainian border guards on Snake Island to a demand by the Russian missile cruiser Moskva to surrender.

The border guards’ reply, “Russian warship, fuck off!” became a rallying cry that resonated around the world and inspired the Ukrainian resistance.

Zelenskyi stressed that Russia’s attempt to subjugate Ukraine began not a year ago, but in the spring of 2014. “Nine years ago, our neighbor became an aggressor. A year ago, the attacker became an executioner, looter and terrorist. We have no doubt that they will be held accountable,” he said. Last war in Ukraine: China’s ‘peace plan’ is tarnished by its support for Russia, Western officials say

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