“We must be aware that our enemy will try to make this time dark and difficult for us,” he said in his daily video address on Sunday evening.
He said Russia had lost everything it could lose this year, adding: “But it is trying to compensate for its losses with the cunning of its propagandists, after the missile attacks on our country, on our energy sector.
“I know that darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to their new defeats.
“But we must be prepared for any scenario,” he continued.
Zelensky directed sharp words at the Russian military, which killed at least 16 people and wounded another 64 with artillery attacks in Kherson in the south of the country on Saturday.
“Brutes,” he said. “We will find every murderer.”
Russia announced in the autumn that it was annexing Kherson, before Ukrainian forces retook the city as Russian troops retreated to the other side of the Dnipro river.
From there they have bombarded the city with artillery, according to Ukrainian sources.
Russian officers were injured after an attack on a Russian command post in the Kherson region, according to the Ukrainian armed forces on Sunday.
It was unclear how many had died but at least 70 officers were injured after Kiev’s forces attacked during a meeting in the village of Zabaryne, the army said on Sunday.
Ukrainian fighters have attacked Russian command centres and command posts repeatedly since the start of the invasion, locating them by monitoring radio traffic or the mobile phone network.
Several senior Russian officers have died in similar attacks.
Volodymyr Saldo, the governor of the region appointed by Russia, rejected the Ukrainian allegations, insisting that it was Ukrainian forces who were bombarding the city and accusing them of terrorism.
“This is repulsive provocation with the apparent aim of attributing blame to the Russian forces,” he said.
He insisted that the nature of the destruction indicated artillery fire from Ukrainian-held territory to the north and north-west of the city.
The Kremlin insists that the entire Kherson region is Russian territory and will not be surrendered.
Meanwhile as Moscow’s forces seek to overpower the southern region, they are also battling for control of eastern Ukraine, with heavy clashes over the town of Bakhmut.
However, Kiev’s fighters inflicted “heavy losses” on the invaders there, according to a Ukrainian military spokesperson.
At least 50 Russian soldiers have been killed and another 80 wounded since Saturday alone, according to Serhii Chervatko, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Army Group East.
The figures could not be independently verified.
Bakhmut is seen as a critical point along the front in eastern Ukraine, as any breakthrough here would allow Russian troops to advance deep behind Ukrainian lines. Ukrainian fighters have transformed the town into a fortress in their attempts to defend it.
The head of administration of the Luhansk region, Serhii Haidai, said that alongside regular Russian troops, Wagner mercenaries and Chechen fighters sent by the republic’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov had failed in their attacks on Bakhmut.
“They want to show the bunker grandpa (Russian President Vladimir Putin) what they can do,” he said on Telegram, adding: “But so far they are only losing thousands of soldiers who will remain there forever.”
In spite of Putin’s repeated hints at his willingness to talk in the Ukraine war, Kiev thinks nothing of the Russian president’s words.
“Russia does not want negotiations and is trying to evade responsibility (for the War).
“This is obvious, so we are moving towards a tribunal,” Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Zelensky, tweeted on Sunday.
Kiev thinks that Russia’s political and military leadership should stand trial for the war before an international tribunal modelled on the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis in World War II.
“Russia alone attacked Ukraine and is killing its citizens,” Podolyak further wrote. There are no other “sides, motives or geopolitics,” he added.
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