(AP) President Volodymyr Zelenskyy devoted his nightly video address to Ukraine’s demand that Russia be held financially responsible for the damage its forces are inflicting on Ukraine.
Just on Friday, he noted, the Russian army fired a missile at the northeastern Kharkiv region, destroying a cultural center in Lozova, and also hit the cities of Odesa in the south, Poltava in the east and Zhytomyr in the west.
In the eastern Donbas, where the Russian attack has been fiercest, he said Russian troops turned the towns of Rubizhne and Volnovakha into ruins, just as they did with Mariupol, and were trying to do the same with Severodonetsk.
Zelenskyy said Russia should be made to pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys. He said a legal mechanism should be created through which everyone who suffered from Russia’s actions would be able to receive compensation.
He said Ukraine was urging its partners to seize Russian funds and property under their jurisdiction and use them to create a fund to be used to compensate those who suffered from Russian aggression.
“That would be fair,” Zelenskyy said. “And Russia would feel the true weight of every missile, every bomb, every shell that it has fired at us.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States for the $40 billion aid package, which got final congressional approval on Thursday.
“This is a demonstration of strong leadership and a necessary contribution to our common defense of freedom,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation.
He also thanked the European Union for its support.
“And for our partners this is not just an expense or a gift. This is their contribution to security,” Zelenskyy said.
“For defending Ukraine also defends them from new wars and crises that Russia could provoke if it is successful in the war against Ukraine. Therefore, we must together ensure that Russia’s aggression against our state has no success, not militarily, economically or any other.”
Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s monthly budget deficit is $5 billion “and so to survive in the war for freedom, we need quick and sufficient financial support.”
The U.S. has announced a shipment of $100 million in military equipment to Ukraine, separate from what will be coming from the $40 billion approved by Congress. The latest package includes 18 more howitzers as well as anti-artillery radar systems, both of which the U.S. has provided to Ukraine already since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.