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Former Zelensky official says ‘we’ll never give up to Putin,’ ahead of war anniversary
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and former spokesperson Iuliia Mendel. PHOTO: STR/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY
The former press secretary to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Saturday that they will “never give up” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the one-year anniversary of the war approaches next week.
“Thousands and thousands of our people are fighting, and many of them just became soldiers a year ago, but they are determined,” Iuliia Mendel, who served as Zelensky’s press secretary from 2019 to 2021, told MSNBC. “They know that they can win. They know they must defend Ukrainian civilians, the sky, whatever they can defend.”
The Russian forces, on the other hand, are not as determined or motivated, Mendel said.
“What are they for here? Just to kill, to loot, to die?” she added. “So, definitely, we will stand until the very end.”
However, Mendel acknowledged that support from the U.S. and others in the West is waning, as fatigue settles in. In the U.S., House Republicans have also previously indicated that they hope to rein in assistance — some even calling further aide a “blank check” from the Biden administration.
“If there is no unity in the civilized world, in the West, in the United States, then there is always a risk that we will not be able to stand against this unpredictable and aggressive autocracy alone,” she said.
As the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion approaches on Feb. 24, Putin has doubled down on his war effort, launching his long-anticipated counter-offensive in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin is sending in tens of thousands of new troops and renewing its widespread bombing of its neighbor, as it tries to reclaim territory that it lost last year.
However, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that Russia is incurring heavy losses given its “ill-equipped and ill-trained” troops. U.K. intelligence estimated on Friday that Russia has lost up to 60,000 soldiers in the war.
russian invasion of ukraine