Zelensky says 2022 the year 'Ukraine changed the world' in New Year's address

Amid more deadly Russian missile and drone attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered his final address of 2022 on Dec. 31, looking back on a year that "began on February 24. Without prefaces and preludes. Sharply. Early. At 4 o'clock."

"It was dark. It was loud. It was hard for many and scary for some. 311 days have passed. It can still be dark, loud, and complicated for us. But we will definitely never be afraid again. And we'll never be ashamed," Zelensky said.

"It was our year. The year of Ukraine. The year of Ukrainians."

In his pre-recorded speech, Zelensky enumerated some of the most difficult moments of Russia's war against Ukraine, including the deadly attacks on the Kramatorsk train station, the Mariupol drama theater where children were sheltering, and the maternity hospital in Mariupol; the siege of Azovstal and the prisoners killed at Olenivka; Ukraine's successes on the battlefield, the destruction of Russia's Moskva warship, and strikes on the Crimean Bridge; and most recently the liberation of Kherson. 

"And we pray there will be Kreminna and Svatove, Melitopol, all of Donbas, Crimea," Zelensky said in reference to some Ukrainian territories that are still under Russian occupation.

The president thanked Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers, and average citizens, whose heroic deeds have become part of the story of Ukraine's fierce resistance to Russia's war, those who have fundraised for Ukraine, and the cities in Ukraine that welcomed internally displaced people.

"We are all one family. One Ukraine, Zelensky said. 

"This is the year when Ukraine changed the world. And the world discovered Ukraine. We were told to surrender. We chose a counterattack! We were told to make concessions and compromises. We are joining the European Union and NATO."

Zelensky ended his speech with one wish for Ukrainians in the year ahead: victory.

"Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers – to their families. Prisoners – to their homes. Immigrants – to their Ukraine."

And a "return of our lands," Zelensky said, adding that all the territories, including Ukraine's eastern Donbas and Crimea, occupied by Russia since 2014, "will become forever free."

Zelensky concluded his speech by saying, "May the New Year bring all this. We are ready to fight for it. That's why each of us is here. I'm here. We are here. You are here. Everyone is here. We are all Ukraine."