In a video address on Friday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s military had dealt “powerful blows” to Russia, and thanked all those who were helping defend the nation.
“Over the past week, our heroic armed forces have dealt powerful blows to the enemy, significant losses,” Zelensky said. “I am grateful to our defenders who showed the occupiers that the sea will not be calm for them even when there is no storm. Because there will be fire.”
Russian losses: Zelensky claimed that more than 16,000 Russian soldiers had been killed since the war began, a far higher number than the estimate Russia put forth Friday. CNN cannot independently confirm these figures.
“By restraining Russia’s actions, our defenders are leading the Russian leadership to a simple and logical idea: talk is necessary. Meaningful. Urgent. Fair. For the sake of the result, not for the sake of the delay,” he said. “16,000 Russian servicemen have already died. For what? What does it give and to whom?”
Any negotiations with Russia must guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and the country’s territorial integrity, he added.
Civilian evacuations: The President added that Ukraine had established 18 evacuation corridors this week, allowing more than 37,000 people to escape “blocked cities” — including more than 26,000 residents from Mariupol, which has been under relentless shelling for weeks. “The situation in the city remains absolutely tragic,” Zelensky said.