King Charles has issued a powerful message marking the first anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine.
The British monarch praised the “remarkable courage and resilience” of the nation’s people, as the solemn event was observed around the world.
“It has now been a year that the people of Ukraine have suffered unimaginably from an unprovoked full-scale attack on their nation. They have shown truly remarkable courage and resilience in the face of such human tragedy,” Charles said in his message.
“The world has watched in horror at all the unnecessary suffering inflicted upon Ukrainians, many of whom I have had the great pleasure of meeting here in the UK and, indeed, across the world, from Romania to Canada.
“Earlier this month I met President Zelensky at Buckingham Palace to express my personal support for the people of Ukraine. It is heartening that the United Kingdom, along with its allies, is doing everything possible to help at this most difficult time.”
He continued: “Therefore, I can only hope the outpouring of solidarity from across the globe may bring not only practical aid, but also strength from the knowledge that, together, we stand united.”
His message coincided with one from Zelensky himself, who today vowed that Russian president Vladimir Putin would be defeated in 2023.
Attending a service in Kyiv this morning, where he commemorated those who gave their lives to protecting their country, Zelensky shared a video titled “the year of invincibilty”.
In it, he recalled how he addressed Ukrainians a year ago in a hurried statement, as Kyiv and the world reeled from Russia’s act of war.
“A year ago on this day, from this same place around seven in the morning, I addressed you with a brief statement, lasting only 67 seconds,” he said in the 15-minute address.
“We are strong. We are ready for anything. We will defeat everyone. This is how it began on February 24, 2022. The longest day of our lives. The most difficult day in our recent history. We woke up early and haven’t slept since.”
Zelensky met with Charles for the first time on 8 February in what he called a “truly special moment”.
After greeting the King in Buckingham Palace’s 1844 Room, he referred to Charles’s former military service in the Royal Air Force, saying: “The King is an air force pilot and in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is a king.”
Leading a moment of silence to mark the anniversary today, British prime minister Rishi Sunak urged the public to reflect on the “courage and bravery” of the Ukrainian people.
“As we mark one year since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since, have fought heroically for their country,” he said.
Follow the latest updates on the first anniversary of the Ukraine-Russia conflict here.