Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a defiant speech from his office in Kyiv.
The video of the nine-minute message is the first time Zelensky has been seen at his desk since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24.
In a bold show of defiance against invaders, Zelensky used his speech to claim that "the Ukrainian army holds its positions," and reiterate that he will not be leaving Kyiv, saying: "I am not afraid of anyone."
According to a translation by CNN, the president began his speech by saying that on the "12th evening of our struggle" everyone is "where they should be".
"I am in Kyiv. My team is with me. The territorial defense is on the ground. The servicemen are in positions. Our heroes! Doctors, rescuers, transporters, diplomats, journalists...Everyone. We are all at war. We all contribute to our victory, which will definitely be achieved," he said passionately.
Zelensky went on to urge his citizens to remember that even where they do not have weapons, they still have spirit.
"These are our people, and that's why they have weapons. They have courage. Dignity. And hence the ability to go out and say: I'm here, it's mine, and I won't give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine," he said.
"Every Ukrainian man and woman who protested against the invaders yesterday, today, and will protest tomorrow are heroes. We shout at the invaders together with you. We stand in the squares and streets with you. We are not afraid with you when the invaders open fire and try to drive everyone away," he continued, adding: "You do not back down. We do not back down."
Zelensky then spoke about the devastation Russian shelling had wrecked on Ukrainian cities, saying: "We will rebuild everything. We will make our cities destroyed by the invader better than any city in Russia."
He also spoke positively about Ukraine's military defense, claiming: "The Ukrainian army holds positions. Well done! It inflicts extremely painful losses on the enemy. Defends. Counterattacks. If necessary - can take revenge."[[imagecaption|| Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy]]
After listing some of the atrocities he says have been committed by Russian forces in Ukraine - including firing on a bread factory, destroying a church, and attacking busses - Zelensky opened up about the peace talks taking place in Belarus.
"The third round of negotiations in Belarus took place today. I would like to say - the third and final. But we are realists. So we will talk. We will insist on negotiations until we find a way to tell our people: this is how we will come to peace," he said.
The president then touched on his own widely reported decision to remain in Kyiv - despite the US offering to evacuate him.
"Now I will say one thing: I stay here. I stay in Kyiv. On Bankova Street. I’m not hiding. And I'm not afraid of anyone. As much as it takes to win this Patriotic War of ours," he told his citizens.
Finally, Zelensky rounded up his speech by presenting state awards to 96 Ukrainian military heroes, saying: "Our gratitude to all the military. Our gratitude to the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Our gratitude is boundless. Glory to Ukraine!"
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