President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a stark warning to Moscow, declaring that “history will put everything in its place” as Ukrainian troops swept through the northeastern region of Kharkiv.
In a Telegram post addressed to Russia, Zelensky asked: “Do you still think that we are ‘one nation?’ Do you still think that you can scare us, break us, make us make concessions?”
“You really did not understand anything? Don’t understand who we are? What are we for? What are we talking about?,” said the post, which published Sunday.
“Read my lips: Without gas or without you? Without you. Without light or without you? Without you. Without water or without you? Without you. Without food or without you? Without you,” Zelensky wrote.
“Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst are not as scary and deadly for us as your ‘friendship and brotherhood,’” he added. “But history will put everything in its place. And we will be with gas, light, water and food … and WITHOUT you!”
Zelensky’s message came after a week of stunning transformation on the battlefield of eastern Ukraine, as the country’s forces punctured Russian defenses and recaptured more than 3,000 square kilometers (more than 1,100 square miles) of territory.
Russia’s recent collapse in Kharkiv has been met with stinging criticism from Kremlin loyalists – and prompted the question of how Moscow will respond to its failure.
Zelensky said Russia retaliated on Sunday with missile strikes on infrastructure that caused a power outage in parts of eastern Ukraine, including the regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk.
“Even through the impenetrable darkness, Ukraine and the civilized world clearly see these terrorist acts. Deliberate and cynical missile strikes on critical civilian infrastructure. No military facilities,” Zelensky said via Telegram.
On Monday, Russia launched fresh airstrikes on Kharkiv as the Kremlin sought to downplay Moscow’s setback in the region, insisting that it would achieve all the goals of its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“The special military operation continues and will continue until the initial goals are achieved,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin was aware of the situation on the frontline.
After the success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry sought to present its retreat as a strategic regrouping.
“The decision was made to regroup Russian troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izium and redirect their efforts in the Donetsk direction,” it said.