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Zelenskyy warns of ‘particularly cruel’ Russian attack as Ukraine prepares for Independence Day

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia could take action “particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Aug. 24 each day that also marks half a year of Moscow’s invasion.

Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s president has warned that Russia could take action “particularly cruel” as Ukraine prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday each day that also marks half a year of Moscow’s invasion.

In his nightly address on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Ukrainians to be strong also to keep fighting, because the country ready to mark its independence from Soviet rule on Aug. 24.

“We ought to remember that this week Russia may make an effort to take action particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” he said without providing details.

He charged that certain of Russia’s key aims is “to devalue our capabilities” and spread despair, fear and conflicts.

“Therefore, it is necessary never, for an individual moment, to provide directly into this enemy pressure, never to wind oneself up, never to show weakness.”

Ukraine will undoubtedly be celebrating its 31st Independence Day on Wednesday which marks half a year since Russia’s unprovoked invasion, described by Moscow as a “special military operation.”

“A substantial milestone is ahead half a year of the full-scale invasion,” Zelenskyy said in his video message, calling it “the war that changed everything for Ukraine, for Europe, and for the planet.”

Based on the US Human Rights Office, more than5,500 civilians in Ukraine have already been killed and nearly 7,700 civilians injured right away of the war to Aug. 15.

“The majority of the civilian casualties recorded were due to the usage of explosive weapons with wide area effects, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes,” based on the Office of the US High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Separately, Russian state media accused Ukrainian forces of launchingan artillery strike at the Zaporizhzhianuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Situated in southeastern town of Enerhodar, the nuclear plant was captured by Moscow early in the war.

Russianstate-owned newsagencyRIA Novosti said Ukraine’s military have regularly attacked the Zaporizhzhiafacility in recent weeks, risking a large-scale nuclear catastrophe.

Both Russia and Ukrainehave repeatedly accused one another of shelling the energy plant.

NBC News reported that the headquarters of Russia’sBlack Sea fleetin annexed-Crimea was struck by way of a drone early Saturday.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters is situated in Sevatsopol, Crimea, that was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

“A drone flew to the roof,” the Russian-appointed governor of occupied Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.

NBC News cannot independently verify pictures and a video posted online that seemed to show a big plume of smoke billowing from the fleet’s headquarters.

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