Russian President Vladimir Putin said the invasion of Ukraine is going according to schedule during an address Thursday.
“I would like to say that the special military operation is being conducted strictly in accordance to the plan and the schedule. All objectives that were set are being resolved or achieved successfully,” Putin said, according to a translation.
Putin’s address was held in Moscow as Russian forces continue battering key cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv and port cities.
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Putin said that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people,” but claimed many Ukrainians have “been threatened and brainwashed” and follow factions that supported Adolf Hitler during World War II.
“We are at war with neo-Nazis,” he said. “I will never give up on my conviction that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.”
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The Russian president accused Ukrainian forces of being “extreme gangsters,” who have taken thousands of hostages and are using civilians as “human shields.”
Ukraine and Russia have been battling for eight days as of Thursday. Russia has declared control over one Ukrainian city, the southern port of Kherson, though some Ukrainian officials have denied the claim.
Russian troops have continued battering Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, including with aerial attacks. Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov, however, said the city is still standing strong. While in Kyiv, the nation’s capital has come under constant attack.
The U.N. human rights office said Thursday 227 civilians have been killed and another 525 have been injured.
Russia confirmed casualties for the first time Wednesday, saying 498 Russian troops have died. Ukrainian officials say the number is much higher, estimating Thursday it sits at about 9,000.
Putin said Thursday that families of fallen Russian soldiers will receive compensation and additional funds will be sent to the military.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy struck a positive tone Thursday morning, praising Ukraine’s resistance to Russia.
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“We are a people who in a week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,” he said. “They will have no peace here. They will have no food. They will have here not one quiet moment.”
“These are not warriors of a superpower,” he said. “These are confused children who have been used.”