Ukraine Marks 2d Anniversary of Russian Invasion Determined Despite Setbacks

In solemn ceremonies and small vigils, state visits, stirring speeches and statements of solidarity, Ukraine and its allies marked the dawn of the third year of Russia’s unprovoked invasion with a single message: Believe.

“When thousands of columns of Russian invaders moved from all directions into Ukraine, when thousands of rockets and bombs fell on our land, no one in the world believed that we would stand,” said Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s newly named top military commander. “No one believed, but Ukraine did!”

On the 731st day of the war, Ukrainian soldiers once again find themselves outmanned and outgunned, fighting for their nation’s survival while also trying to convince a skeptical world that they can withstand the relentless onslaught, even as they suffer losses on the battlefield and are challenged up and down the front line by Russian forces.

The leaders of Canada, Belgium and Italy, as well as the head of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen, were among the dignitaries who traveled to Kyiv in a show of solidarity. While many analysts at the outbreak of the war believed that European nations would go wobbly in their support of Ukraine in a prolonged struggle, these countries are now stepping up, trying to help fill the void left by the U.S., where Republicans in Congress have for months blocked any new military assistance to Kyiv.

With Ukraine’s allies by his side outside the wrecked hangar that once housed a gigantic Mriya cargo plane, President Volodymyr Zelensky presented awards to soldiers at Hostomel Airport, where a pivotal early battle played out two years ago.

“When our soldiers destroyed the Russian killers’ landing and didn’t allow Russia to create its foothold here, the world saw the most important thing,” he said. “It saw that any evil can be defeated, and Russian aggression is no exception.”

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