Zelenskyy Condemns Russian Strikes on Palm Sunday


In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the recent air strikes carried out by Russia during the Orthodox Church’s observance of Palm Sunday. The attacks included one that killed a man and his daughter in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia. Zelenskyy labelled Russia a “terrorist state” and criticised its actions, stating that they only serve to isolate Russia further from the rest of the world.

Emergency services in Ukraine reported that the man and his daughter were killed after Russian forces struck a residential building. However, the wife and mother of the victims was found alive under rubble at the site of the attack. The Russian defence ministry claimed that it had destroyed 70,000 tonnes of fuel near Zaporizhzhia, as well as warehouses storing missiles, ammunition, and artillery in the Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions.

The Ukrainian military reported Russian strikes across the front, with the fighting most concentrated on the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Zelenskyy praised military units defending positions in the east and expressed hope that the next Palm Sunday would take place at a time of “peace and freedom for all our people”.

Most of Ukraine’s 43 million people are Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian Calendar designed by Roman emperor Julius Caesar, meaning they celebrate Easter a week later than the majority of Christians in the West. Pope Francis used his traditional Easter Sunday address to ask God to “comfort the wounded and all those who have lost loved ones” and “help the beloved Ukrainian people on their journey towards peace, and shed the light of Easter upon the people of Russia”.

Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military has reported repelling more than 40 attacks by Russian forces, including unsuccessful advances on areas west of the eastern city of Bakhmut. Bakhmut has been the site of the longest battle in Russia’s 13-month war against Ukraine. Analysts say the Kremlin views taking Bakhmut as an important step towards capturing strategically important and heavily-fortified cities and towns in the Donbas region such as Chasiv Yar, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk.

Ukrainian officials have pledged to defend Bakhmut against repeated Russian attacks, but Zelenskyy has acknowledged that troops could be pulled back if they are at risk of being encircled. Ukrainian officials also reported that Kharkiv in the northeast and Zaporizhia in the southeast came under missile, rocket, and artillery fire. Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said two men in the city of Kupiansk died on Sunday after residential areas were struck by multiple rocket launchers. Syniehubov also reported that a 30-year-old man was hospitalised in serious condition after shelling of the city of Chuhuiv.

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been ongoing for over a year, with both sides accusing each other of aggression. The situation has escalated in recent weeks, with both sides stepping up their military operations. The international community has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, but so far, no progress has been made.