Zelensky vows triumph over Russia on second war anniversary

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised victory against Russia on the second anniversary of the invasion on Saturday as his troops fight on despite a lack of Western aid and recent Russian gains.

"We will win," he said at a ceremony at Kiev's Gostomel airport, which was targeted by Russia in the first days of the all-out assault in 2022.

He spoke alongside the Canadian, Italian and Belgian prime ministers and EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen who came to Kiev to mark the date.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" at dawn on Feb. 24, 2022, many expected victory within days, but Ukraine fought back, forcing Russian troops into retreats.

Since then, however, Ukraine has suffered setbacks with the failure of its 2023 counteroffensive.

The Russian army has built up a position of strength by boosting its defense industry, while Ukraine's troops are short of manpower and running low on Western-supplied ammunition for artillery and air defenses.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Ukraine and its allies not to "lose heart" and von der Leyen praised Ukraine's "extraordinary resistance" as she arrived in the Ukrainian capital.

Ukraine's military chief Oleksandr Syrsky said he was confident of victory "because light always conquers darkness".

 'War is our life' 

But the overall picture remains bleak for Ukraine due to the U.S. Congress blocking a vital $60 billion aid package, on top of delays in promised European deliveries.

Russia is attacking hard in the east after capturing the heavily fortified town of Avdiivka on Feb. 17.

In the east Ukraine city of Pokrovsk — a gathering point for civilians fleeing fighting — troops sent...

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