As Moscow’s invasion of Kiev has been underway for more than a month now, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy said that his country’s forces “have dealt powerful blows to the enemy”, adding that there were “significant losses” on the Russian side.
In a video address posted on Facebook early Saturday morning, the President said: “Over the past week, our heroic Armed Forces have dealt powerful blows to the enemy, significant losses.”
Zelenksy also made a reference to the reported disappearance of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was last seen in public on March 11.
“They say that the Minister of Defence of Russia has disappeared somewhere… I wonder if he personally wanted to visit Chornobaivka?” the President queried.
According to Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Shoigu suffered a heart attack “after a tough accusation by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for a complete failure of the invasion of Ukraine”, adding that he is currently “undergoing rehabilitation” in hospital, the BBC reported.
The Defence Minister briefly appeared in a video on Thursday, but there were no official confirmation on his exact whereabouts.
In his video message, Zelensky again thanked “our defenders who showed the occupiers that the sea will not be calm for them even when there is no storm. Because there will be fire”.
“By restraining Russia’s actions, our defenders are leading the Russian leadership to a simple and logical idea: talk is necessary. Meaningful. Urgent. Fair. For the sake of the result, not for the sake of the delay.”
The President also touched on the suffering in the besieged city of Mariupol which is worsening, as tens of thousands of people are trapped without food, water or heat.
“The situation in the city remains tragic. Absolutely tragic. The Russian military does not allow any humanitarian aid into the city.”
The port city is key to Russia’s military campaign. If it falls, it would give Russia control of one of Ukraine’s biggest ports and create a land corridor between Crimea and the Russian-backed regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.