Volodymyr Zelensky made the declaration in a video address to Ukrainians late on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The Ukrainian president said: “Last summer and autumn, we proved that the spring liberation of our northern regions was no accident."
He added: "The battle for Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions ... The return of the territories of our Kharkiv region, the return of Kherson, the defence of Bakhmut and Donbas in general - this is the heroism of Ukrainians that the world will not forget.”
'We are preparing our next steps, our active actions'
Zelensky announced: “We are preparing our next steps, our active actions. We are preparing the approach of our victory.”
He vowed: “We will do everything so that the day comes sooner when I can thank you, dear Ukrainians, for our victory.”
Bucha massacre, one year on
April 1 marks the first anniversary of the discovery of the Bucha massacre, the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by Russian forces as part of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, news outlets reported.
Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, became a symbol of Russian brutality after the retreat of Moscow’s forces last March revealed ravaged streets littered with civilian bodies, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.
Ukraine has put the civilian death toll in areas of the Kyiv region liberated from Russian troops at 1,137, including 461 killed in Bucha alone, according to The Guardian.
Immediately after the Russian withdrawal from Bucha, as part of a broader retreat following a failed assault on Kyiv, reports surfaced of dead bodies in the streets, the EU vs Disinfo website reported.
Many were Ukrainian civilians killed in executions, with their hands tied behind their backs, as shown in macabre photos and detailed in accounts from local eyewitnesses.
Since the massacre, multiple investigations, including a detailed United Nations report, have established Russian culpability for the attacks, EU vs Disinfo noted.
Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday: “For many residents of the Kyiv region, the past year has become the most horrific in their entire lives. And the liberation of the Kyiv region has become a symbol of the fact that Ukraine will be able to win this war.”
Russian missiles strike Ukraine’s Kharkiv
At least six Russian missiles hit the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Thursday night, and officials were gathering details about damage and casualties, the Reuters news agency reported.
Governor Oleh Syniehubov said late on Thursday that the Kharkiv region, including its capital Kharkiv City, was being shelled by Moscow’s forces from Russia's Belgorod region, according to The Kyiv Independent.
At least six explosions have been reported in the city, "likely" from S-300 missiles, Syniehubov added.
According to the governor, preliminary information indicated that rocket attacks had damaged a private house and two civilian cars in a district of the city.
As information was being clarified, as of 11 p.m. there were no confirmed casualties, The Kyiv Independent reported.
Russian advance on Bakhmut ‘halted’: Ukrainian expert
Meanwhile, the advance of Russian troops on the outskirts of the besieged frontline city of Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, "has been halted, or nearly halted," the director of the Ukrainian defence publication Defense Express said, as cited by the Reuters news agency.
Friday is day 401 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, president.gov.ua, The Guardian, EU vs Disinfo, Reuters, The Kyiv Independent