Showcasin The Military Strength, President Zelenskiy Says Ukrainian Army Capable of Thwarting Russian Conquest Plans
President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a speech against the backdrop of Ukrainian military armored vehicles. (Wikimedia Commons/Нацгвардія аїни)

JAKARTA - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday said his armed forces were capable of resisting any Russian attack, as the country marked its national army day by displaying armored vehicles and patrol boats alerted by the United States.

US President Joe Biden has promised 'unwavering support' for Ukraine in its dispute with Moscow, as he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to try to defuse the crisis.

Ukraine accuses Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops near its borders in preparation for a possible large-scale military offensive, raising the prospect of open war between the two neighbours.

"The soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to fulfill their most important mission - to defend the freedom and sovereignty of the country from Russian aggressors," President Zelenskiy said in a statement.

"The Ukrainian army is confident in its strength and is able to thwart the enemy's conquest plans," he continued.

Russia has dismissed accusations of a new attack in Ukraine as false and seditious, telling the West not to cross the "red line" and to halt the eastward expansion of the NATO alliance.

Dressed in a bulletproof vest and khaki helmet, Zelenskiy flew east to shake hands with soldiers on the front line in the Donetsk region, where Ukrainian soldiers are battling Russian-backed forces in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14.000 people since 2014.

militer ukraina
Ukrainian military illustration. (Wikimedia Commons/president.gov.ua)

 

He then flew to Kharkiv, a city near Ukraine's northeastern border with Russia and a traditional center for weapons manufacturing, to inaugurate deliveries of tanks, armored personal carriers, and armored vehicles made at the city's factories.

Standing before rows of soldiers, tanks, and planes in the city's main square on Monday night, Zelenskiy voiced the way Ukraine's military is equipping itself with the help of NATO allies.

Ukraine, a former Soviet Union republic that now aspires to join the European Union and NATO, has received Javelin anti-tank missiles from the United States, advanced drones from Turkey, and signed a deal with Britain to build new ships and naval bases in Turkey, the south coast of Ukraine.

Several cities in Ukraine are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of an independent military after winning independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

"Today, together with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I am here in Kharkiv on Freedom Square," Zelenskiy said in a speech.

"This is important because freedom for us is the greatest value. It is a symbol of our country, all of Ukraine, which was defended from the Russian aggression in 2014 by our army and continues to be defended by our army. They are today," he stressed.

Kyiv, Lviv, and the southern port city of Odessa display US-made Humvees. In Odessa, there was also a handover ceremony for two US Coast Guard patrol boats recently dispatched intended to bolster Ukraine's navy.

To note, Ukraine has urged NATO to accelerate its entry into the military alliance and said Moscow has no right to veto the move.

Meanwhile, the NATO leadership has been supportive but says Ukraine must carry out defense reforms and tackle corruption first.


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