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Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Marks 500 Days Of Russia Ukraine Conflict With Emotional Video Tribute

he small Black Sea island has become a symbol of Ukraine's resilience, with Zelenskyy expressing gratitude to the soldiers who fought for its recapture and emphasizing the nation's unwavering determination to regain every inch of its territory.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
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In a heartfelt video message from Snake Island, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid tribute to Ukrainian soldiers and defenders of the nation on the momentous 500th day of the conflict with Russia. He declared that the island's recapture stands as indisputable proof of Ukraine's unwavering determination to reclaim its entire territory. Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude, stating, "I want to thank - from here, from this place of victory - each of our soldiers for these 500 days. Thank you to everyone who fights for Ukraine!"

The tiny stone island of Snake Island gained legendary significance as a symbol of Ukraine's resistance against the Russian invasion. It became an emblem of the nation's fight for independence and unity when Ukrainian troops stationed there famously responded to a Russian warship's demand for surrender with a resolute retort. This courageous exchange further galvanized Ukraine's patriotic spirit, resulting in the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp to honor the island's defenders.

Following the initial capture of Snake Island by Russian forces on February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian military launched a relentless bombardment against the Russian garrison. This sustained assault culminated in the Russians being forced to retreat on June 30, 2022, significantly diminishing the threat of a seaborne attack on Odesa, Ukraine's largest port and naval headquarters. The successful recapture of the island played a vital role in paving the way for a crucial deal to resume Ukrainian grain exports, boosting the nation's economy and reinforcing its resolve.

While celebrating these achievements, President Zelenskyy acknowledged that intense battles persist in the east and south of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces continue their determined counteroffensive, fiercely engaging with multi-layered Russian defenses. Undeterred by the challenges, Zelenskyy expressed unwavering confidence in Ukraine's ultimate victory, paying tribute to the memory and sacrifice of those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom, as AP reported.

With the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, leaders will gather to discuss further assistance in modernizing Ukraine's armed forces, establishing a new high-level forum for consultations, and reaffirming the commitment to Ukraine's future NATO membership. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed early support for Ukraine joining NATO, underscoring the nation's deserving place in the alliance. President Zelenskyy's visit to Turkey, as part of his European tour, aimed to rally support for Ukraine's entry into the military alliance once the conflict with Russia concludes.

Ahead of the NATO summit, the United States announced a "difficult decision" to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, aiming to bolster its offensive capabilities and overcome Russian front lines. While controversial due to their potential impact on civilians, the US sees this assistance as a means to save Ukrainian lives and facilitate the de-occupation of Ukrainian territories. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed the US move, assuring that the cluster munitions would be used exclusively for de-occupation purposes and with strict measures to protect civilians.

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