We are not a colony, says Zelensky, marking new national holiday

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Ukraine celebrates its first Statehood Day today – a new national holiday first proposed by President Volodymyr Zelensky last year and backed by parliament after the Russian invasion.

Russia justified its invasion by denying that Ukraine has ever held real statehood, giving the holiday a particular significance for Ukrainians at war.

In a speech broadcast to the nation, the president said there had been many attempts to “enslave and destroy the great people of the great country and great state” but no one would ever be allowed to succeed.

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“Every day we fight so that everyone on the planet finally understands: we are not a colony, not an enclave, not a protectorate,” Zelensky said.

He said “to live in capitivity is not to live” and promised that Ukrainians will “fight for our statehood to the end, to our last breath, to the last bullet, to the last soldier”.

“We will not stop until we liberate the last inch of Ukrainian land. We will not rest until we liberate our last village, our last hut, our last well, our last cherry tree, our last willow,” he said.

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