Zelenskyy warns of ‘cruel’ Russian attack ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned Russia could do something ‘particularly cruel’ as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on August 24 – a day that also marks six months since the invasion from Moscow.

Methane Acta | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s president has warned that Russia could do something “particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday – a day that also marks six months since the invasion of Moscow.

In his Saturday night address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to be strong and keep fighting as the country prepared to mark its independence from Soviet rule on August 24.

“We have to be aware that this week Russia might try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” he said without providing details.

He accused one of Russia’s main goals of “devaluing our capabilities” and sowing despair, fear and conflict.

“Thus, it is important never, for a single moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to get angry, not to show weakness.”

Ukraine will mark its 31st Independence Day on Wednesday, which marks six months since Russia’s unprovoked invasion, described by Moscow as a “special military operation”.

“An important milestone is coming – six months of this full-scale invasion,” Zelenskyy said in his video message, calling it “the war that changed everything for Ukraine, for Europe and for the world.” .

According to United Nations Human Rights Officemore than 5,500 civilians in Ukraine have been killed and nearly 7,700 civilians injured since the start of the war until August 15.

“Most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide range of action, including heavy artillery fire, multiple rocket launchers, missiles and air strikes,” according to the High -Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights. .

Separately, Russian state media accused Ukrainian forces of launching an artillery strike on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Located in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, the nuclear power plant was captured by Moscow at the start of the war.

Russian State News Agency RIA Novosti said the Ukrainian armed forces have regularly attacked the Zaporizhzhia facility in recent weeks, risking a full-scale nuclear disaster.

Russia and Ukraine repeatedly accused each other of bombing the power plant.

NBC News reported that the the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea was hit by a drone early Saturday.

The headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Sevatsopol, Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

“A drone flew to the roof,” Russian-appointed governor of occupied Crimea Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram.

NBC News could not independently verify images and a video posted online that appeared to show a large plume of smoke billowing from Fleet Headquarters.

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