Zelensky says Ukraine has reclaimed dozens of settlements in Kherson region since Russian annexation
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that his country’s military has retaken hundreds of square kilometers of territory and dozens of settlements in the southern Kherson region after Russia announced the annexation of the area at the end of September.
“Since October 1, and only in the Kherson region, more than half a thousand square kilometers of territory and dozens of settlements were liberated and stabilized from the Russian pseudo-referendum,” Zelensky said in a public address, referring to the Moscow-orchestrated referendums held in the region, along with Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, prior to its annexation.
The president’s speech follows Putin signing documents on Wednesday to formally absorb the four Ukrainian regions into Russian territory as fighting continues in the areas. It also comes amid a major Ukrainian counteroffensive, launched last month, that has seen the country’s forces reclaim significant amounts of territory and push Russian troops back to the border in some places.
Zelensky additionally touted “successes” in eastern Ukraine in Thursday’s address.
“The day will surely come when we will report on successes in the Zaporizhzhia region as well — in those areas that are still under the control of the occupiers,” he added.
And referring to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, he continued, “The day will come when we will also talk about the liberation of Crimea.”
Zelensky also addressed Putin’s decree to transfer ownership of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since early in the war, to Russia, calling the endeavor “worthless and, frankly, stupid.”
“This is a nuclear power plant. This is not some palace, Yukos or something else that the Russian leadership has already managed to steal,” said Zelensky, referring to the now-defunct Yukos Oil Company.
“It is Ukrainian property,” Zelensky said of the Zaporizhzhia plant. “Was, is and will be.”
The Ukrainian leader turned his attention to Russian oil and gas exports.
“We must ensure that the terrorist state does not receive any profit from the sale of oil and gas. So that not a single oil dollar and not a single gas euro could go to the continuation of the Russian war against Ukraine and the entire civilized world,” Zelensky urged.
Zelensky applauded the European Union for its plans to introduce an eighth package of sanctions against Russia that would limit the country’s maritime transportation of oil and revenue from energy resources.
“This is good,” Zelensky said. “But this is only the beginning.”