KYIV, Ukraine (AA) – Ukraine’s defense minister said Thursday that more than 200,000 Ukrainian citizens have returned from Europe to protect their country.
“More than 100,000 Ukrainian citizens joined the army. More than 200,000 of our citizens returned from Europe to protect our country,” said Oleksii Reznikov. “There are foreign volunteers among them.”
“We will not defeat Russia in quantity, we will overcome it in quality,” said Reznikov.
“No one in the world believed that we would stand upright, especially that we would last this long. We do not stop. On the contrary, we attack now,” he said. “The enemy’s plans have been disrupted. The whole world sees this.”
He said the Russian army suffered “great losses” and therefore attacked schools and hospitals.
Reznikov added that work to evacuate civilians through humanitarian corridors continues in the capital Kyiv and the cities of Mariupol, Sumy and Kharkiv.
At least 549 civilians have been killed and 957 others injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to UN figures. But the international body has maintained that conditions on the ground have made it “difficult to verify” the true number of civilian casualties.
More than 2.3 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, said the UN refugee agency.