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Ukraine marks anniversary of Russian invasion

The war in Ukraine has entered its second year with no end in sight, as a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to “defeat everyone”.

On Friday, the first anniversary of the invasion, world leaders set about planning to impose new sanctions on Moscow and countries supporting its war effort.

In a video released to the media and titled “the year of invincibility”, the 45-year-old President sat at a desk and recalled how he addressed Ukrainians a year ago in a hurried statement, as Kyiv and the world reeled from Russia’s act of war.

“A year ago on this day, from this same place around seven in the morning, I addressed you with a brief statement, lasting only 67 seconds,” he said in a 15-minute speech, as solemn music played in the background.

“We are strong. We are ready for anything. We will defeat everyone,” he said.

“This is how it began on February 24, 2022. The longest day of our lives. The most difficult day in our recent history. We woke up early and haven’t slept since.”

As fighting raged on in Ukraine’s east and south, its allies around the world showed their support on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in the Ukrainian flag colours of blue and yellow and people draped in Ukrainian flags, with hands on their hearts, gathered at a vigil in London holding a banner: “If you stand for freedom, stand for Ukraine.”

“There will be a life after this war, because Ukraine will win,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a speech.

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling for Russia to cease hostilities.

Some 141 members voted in favour, with 32 others abstaining. Six countries joined Russia to vote “no” — Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria. Russia’s ally, China abstained from the UN vote.

Dismissing the UN vote, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy called it “useless”.

Meanwhile, ABC news reported a claim on Friday by Russia’s Wagner group that it had taken control of the Ukrainian village of Berkhivka, on the outskirts of Bakhmut.