We should be proud of surviving 50 days of war, Zelenskyy tells Ukrainians

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelenskyy giving address on 50th day of war from the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelenskyy giving address on 50th day of war from the capital Kyiv.   -  Copyright  Euronews   -   Ukrainian Presidential Office

In his nightly address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when Moscow “gave us a maximum of five”.

Zelenskyy called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on 24 February made the most important decision of their life — to fight".

He gave an extensive and almost poetic listing of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped to fend off the Russian troops, including “those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it’s to the bottom” of the sea.

It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which Moscow says sank while it was being towed to port.

Zelenskyy said he remembered the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

“But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want,” Zelenskyy said.

His comments came after Ukraine's parliament adopted a resolution recognising Russia's aggression as genocide.

US President Joe Biden has also termed it a genocide, but EU leaders have not gone so far, they've qualified it as "possible genocide".

France's president, Emmanuel Macron, has notably disagreed with Biden and upset Ukraine. On Wednesday he said that an “escalation of words” won't help bring about peace.

Meanwhile, an International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes is underway in Ukraine, including into atrocities revealed after Moscow's retreat from the Kyiv area, where Ukrainian authorities say more than 720 people were killed, with 403 bodies found in the town of Bucha alone.

Ukraine's prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova is also gathering evidence.

On Thursday she said her country will pursue legal action against alleged war crimes by the Russian military.

She's encouraged ordinary citizens to help by collecting information with their smartphones and submitting it online to warcrimes.gov.ua.

Five weeks into the war there were more than 6,000 submissions.

Her office has already opened over 8,000 criminal investigations related to the war and identified over 500 suspects, including Russian ministers, military commanders, and propagandists.