Ukrainians are waking up to their 500th day of a war that has caused the death of thousands of their people.


When Russian soldiers marched into Ukraine on the 24th of February last year, the world watched on with concern. Tonight, Ukrainians are waking up to their 500th day of a war that's caused the death of thousands of their people. Federal politics reporter Rhys Delisandro 

sat down with Ukraine's representative in Australia for this somber anniversary. On day one, the sounds of war were as fresh as they were frightening. Russian troops across the border, Russian missiles across the sky. 

People said then Ukraine would be overrun in 48 hours. 500 days later, your people are back. I feel good about it and I feel very proud. Vassil Maryshnichenko is Ukraine's ambassador to Australia. He grew up in western Ukraine 

and was in Kiev when Russia invaded. He recently returned to his posting in Canberra after a brief visit home. Can you talk us through what life is like on the ground? What are the Ukrainians facing day to day at the moment? 

It's very difficult for every Ukrainian because we wake up every morning, we read the news, we read the news from the front lines, we hear about destruction, we hear about death, we hear about misery. 

While reports of military losses vary, after 500 days, more than 9000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and almost 16000 injured. Putin's rapid advance saw large parts of Ukraine's border since one at back. Tonight, their counterattack continues in eastern Donetsk 

and southeastern Zaporizhia. Your fighting countrymen must be exhausted after 500 days. They are. It's very difficult, especially now we are not in the counter offensive, we are getting to four weeks now. 

Australia's latest $100 million package provides 70 military vehicles including 28 M113s. Noticeably missing though, the Hawkeye armoured mobility vehicle Ukraine has expressed a desire and 

need for. At the end of the day, I mean it's up to the Australian government to decide what they can send and when. Every day this war drags on, there is more deaths, more destruction, 

more misery. So it's important that we can get the kit and the tools to help us finish fast. What is your message to the Australian people? Every dollar, every piece of equipment, any piece of medical supplies, this is what is 

helping Ukraine to survive and we are very thankful for that. RISTA LA SANDRO, 9 NEWS

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