Aug 24, 2022
Ukraine marks Independence Day under war Transcript
In an address to the country, President Zelenskyy warned the holiday could bring “hideous provocations and brutal strikes.” Read the transcript here.
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Robin Roberts: (00:00)
The latest out of Ukraine. As the battle torn country celebrates its Independence Day, on edge for an escalation of Russian attacks. Our chief foreign correspondent, Ian Pannell leads us off from Kiev. Good morning, Ian.
Ian Pannell: (00:14)
Yeah. Good morning, Robin. That’s right. Independence Day in Ukraine, normally a day for celebration, but of course it’s tinged with sadness and grief. Just have a look at some of the images behind me. We’ve got this other shot set up where you can see what the center of the city actually looks like. It’s littered with the remains of Putin’s army, who tried to take this city. You can see the tanks, the artillery, some families mingling amongst them, some of them even taking selfies, because today isn’t just Independence Day. It’s six months since the start of this war, Russia’s attempt to take away Ukraine’s very independence. This morning. Ukraine celebrates its independence day, as it never has before, with fears today could see increased Russian attacks. In an address to the country, President Zelensky warning…
President Zelensky: (01:02)
Ian Pannell: (01:02)
… that the national holiday could bring hideous Russian provocations in brutal strikes. Overnight, multiple strikes in Kharkiv, seen in this video posted online, as rescuers rush to put out fires and sift through the destruction. Sources from the State Department say the US has shared declassified intelligence with Ukraine, saying there’s heightened risk of Russian strikes on highly populated centers. The US is again urging all Americans still in Ukraine to leave the country. This as Ukraine accuses Russia of renewed shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, badly damaging the infrastructure and even briefly causing the power to be disconnected. Ukraine says that Russia’s also been intentionally shelling ash pits near the plant, where nuclear waste is stored, raising radioactive dust into the air. In response to the volatile situation, the United Nations’ holding an emergency meeting, western officials calling out Russia from risking a nuclear disaster.
Speaker 4: (01:59)
As we speak, Ukraine, neighboring states, the entire international community are living under the threat of a nuclear catastrophe. Why on earth is a nuclear facility being used as a staging ground for war by Russian forces?
Ian Pannell: (02:14)
Today, in another show of support, the US announcing the largest single package to Ukraine of nearly $3 billion in weapons and equipment. Well, despite all those warnings about what could happen today, certainly here in Kiev, I’d say the atmosphere is fairly calm, although we have been hearing repeated air raid sirens going off, but in other cities like Kharkiv, they’ve come under constant bombardment, also attacked on day one of this war and attacked again today. Robin.
Robin Roberts: (02:43)
I remember the two of us speaking right there in the square in June. You’re now six months into covering this conflict. How have things changed on the ground there, Ian?
Ian Pannell: (02:55)
Yeah, Robin, I mean, this really was a city of fear and dread. This day, six months ago, we’d already had Russian missiles landing, and Russian special forces were even on the outskirts of the city. There was a real sense that we were all bracing really for Putin’s forces to try and sweep in and seize power, but as the wreckage of those Russian tanks show, they failed. It’s incredible really what the Ukrainians have achieved really against the odds. It’s pretty much a tale of David and Goliath for many people. Putin’s forces were roundly defeated, and they withdrew, but elsewhere in the country, six months on, you got this grinding, slow, bloody battle that settled in and towns and cities are still being repeatedly hit. If day one was the start of a fight for their very survival, I think today it’s only escalated into a brutal battle really with no end in sight. Robin.
Robin Roberts: (03:47)
Well, the folks there are so resilient. Ian, our thanks to you and all of our ABC colleagues for the work you’ve done these past six months. Thank you so much, Ian.
George Stephanopoulos : (03:58)
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