Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lauded his fellow countrymen for fighting against Russia after the super power's unprovoked attack.
"We are a nation that broke the enemy's plans in a week — plans that have been built for years, treacherously, deliberately, with hatred of our country, of our people, of any people who have heart and freedom," Zelenskyy said during a video address, Axios reported.
"Our military, border guards, territorial defense, even ordinary farmers capture the Russian military on a daily basis. And they all say one thing: They don't know why they're here."
Zelenskyy has sought to appeal directly to young Russian soldiers who he claims were tricked into this operation, which entered its second week on Thursday.
A senior U.S. defense official told reporters Wednesday that there were indications of low morale among Russian troops.
"We also believe that they have had morale problems that have led to, you know, less than effective operational success north of Kyiv,” the official said.
Zelenskyy has rallied Ukraine's citizens to fight for their freedom against President Vladimir Putin's behemoth military, and his words and actions have helped gain global support for Ukraine against an opponent that expected a much easier road to victory.
"Despite the fact that their quantity is 10 times bigger, the morale of the enemy is deteriorating," Zelenskyy said, Axios reported. "More and more invaders are fleeing back to Russia."
Russian troops were in the center of the Ukrainian port of Kherson on Thursday after a day of conflicting claims over whether Moscow had captured a major urban center for the first time in its eight-day invasion.
Russia's defense ministry said it controlled Kherson on Wednesday but an adviser to Zelenskyy responded that Ukrainian forces continued to defend the Black Sea port of about 250,000 people.
"I am sure of this: if [the Russians] entered somewhere, it is only temporary. We'll drive them out, with shame," Zelenskyy insisted, Axios reported.
"For us, this is a patriotic war. We remember how patriotic wars begin. And we know they end for the invaders."
More than one million people have fled Ukraine following Russia's invasion in the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations said Thursday.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.
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