Zelensky warns of 'cruel' Russian action around independence day

A girl stands on top of destroyed Russian military equipment at Khreshchatyk street in Kyiv on August 20, 2022, that has been turned into an open-air military museum ahead of Ukraine's Independence Day on August 24, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

Kyiv, Ukraine -- Russia could do something particularly "cruel" during the upcoming week as Ukraine marks 31 years of independence, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned.

"Russia could try to do something particularly disgusting, particularly cruel," Zelensky said in his nightly address late Saturday.

"One of the key objectives of the enemy is to humiliate us," and "to sow despondency, fear and conflict" but "we have to be strong enough to resist all provocation" and "make the occupiers pay for their terror," he said.

Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday, August 24, will also mark six months since Russia invaded the former Soviet republic.

There has been speculation that Russia will put Ukrainian fighters captured during the siege of Mariupol on trial to coincide with the independence anniversary.

In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the governor announced a curfew from the evening of August 23 to the morning of August 25.

"We will not allow any provocation by the enemy. Be as vigilant as possible during our independence holiday," Oleg Synegubov wrote on Telegram.

Kharkiv has been under regular Russian bombardment for weeks and on Sunday emergency services said two more civilians were killed in overnight strikes.

Four civilians were reported killed by Russian fire in Donetsk, said the region's pro-Kyiv governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko.

© Agence France-Presse

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