Ukraine’s defence lines hold, but Russia continues shelling: Zelensky

In a new video address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said that his country’s defence lines were holding, but Russia has continued shelling major cities since midnight.

In the video posted on Facebook, the President said the change in Russia’s tactic, which is to target civilian areas, shows that Ukraine has been successful in resisting Moscow’s plan for a quick victory via land assault, the BBC reported.

“We have nothing to lose but our own freedom,” Zelensky said, adding that Ukraine is getting daily arms supplies from its international allies.

“We will restore every house, every street, every city. And we say to Russia: teach the words ‘reparations’ and ‘contributions’. You will repay everything you did against Ukraine. In full. And we will not forget those who died. We are with God,” he added.

This video message comes hours after he posted another one late Wednesday night in which he urged Ukrainians to keep up the fight against Russia as Moscow’s military assault on Kiev entered the eighth day.

The two videos were broadcast from an unknown location.

On Thursday, Kiev was reportedly hit by four explosions, while Kherson, a key port city in southern Ukraine, was seized by Russian troops.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, shelling continued which reportedly killed and wounded dozens of civilians, while troops have also surrounded Mariupol, another strategic port city.

The Ministry of Defence announced that Russian ships and rocket boats were approaching the country’s third largest city of Odessa located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, the Kiev-based Centre for Defence Strategies said that Russian forces were trying to encircle the city amid intense fighting currently underway within 20-40 km of the capital.

Meanwhile in the west of Kiev, Ukrainian Armed Forces have freed the town of Makariv and established defensive positions, the local Ukrainska Pravda reported.

Since the assault began a week ago, Ukraine has claimed that more than 2,000 civilians have died, while the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that the conflict has also led to some 1 million people to flee the country.

The UNHCR has predicted the conflict will leave some 12 million people internally displaced and in need of relief.

Meanwhile, Russia has for the first time admitted that 498 of its troops were killed, with 1,597 injured.

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