BPresident Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his “greatest respect” to the Ukrainians on the occasion of their national holiday on Wednesday. “I admire the courage and determination with which you, the armed forces and the entire population are opposing the brutal Russian war of aggression,” Steinmeier wrote in a letter published on Tuesday about the holiday in Ukraine. “You will not let your country, your life, your freedom be taken from you.”
Ukraine can know that Germany and Europe are by its side. As a candidate for accession to the European Union, Ukraine is “also going down a path of great transformative power that offers enormous opportunities and will bring Ukraine step by step closer to EU membership,” Steinmeier wrote. He shares the belief of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Ukraine will continue to exist “as a free, independent and sovereign state”.
In view of fears that Russia could step up its attacks on Ukraine’s Independence Day on August 24, Zelenskyy announced a determined reaction. There will be a powerful answer, Zelenskyj told journalists. “I want to say this every day … this answer will increase, it will become stronger and stronger.” When asked how Ukraine would react to a possible Russian missile attack on Kyiv, Zelenskyy referred to the equality of all cities and regions. An attack on the capital will be reacted to in the same way as current attacks elsewhere. “For me as president and for every Ukrainian, Kyiv, Chernihiv, the Donbass are all the same.” Ukrainians lived everywhere there, said Zelenskyj, and also named the recently heavily contested cities of Kharkiv and Zaporizhia.
Zelenskyy reiterated the goal of regaining control of the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. “In order to overcome terror, it is necessary to win a victory in the fight against Russian aggression. It is necessary to liberate Crimea,” Zelensky said at the opening of an international Crimea conference.