Ukraine grieves, vows to fight amid war anniversary

STORY: On a cold, cloudy Friday morning (24 February) in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy marked the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion.

He addressed members of the country's armed forces in St Sophia Square, next to the green and gold cathedral - a symbol of the city's resilience.

As he has done throughout the war, Zelenskiy let his emotions show during the 30-minute ceremony.

“I am proud of you. We all, each and every one, are proud of you! ...“May this be proudly proclaimed everywhere: Ukraine is alive!”

Holding back tears as he gave out Hero of Ukraine awards to troops.

Those present bowed their heads during a minute's silence.

Earlier, his recorded special address titled "The Year of Invincibility" for the anniversary was broadcast to the nation.

"We will defeat all threats - shelling, bombs, missiles, kamikaze drones, blackouts, cold. We are stronger than all this...A fierce year of invincibility. Its main conclusion is that we have survived. We have not been defeated. And we will do everything to win this year. Glory to Ukraine."

In the city of Bucha, a service was held to commemorate the dead.

It lays on Russia's path to the prize city of Kyiv.

While Putin's troops were pushed back eventually, the level of destruction and loss of life there mean it is now synonymous with the brutality of the invading forces.

Back in the capital Kyiv, the anniversary was a time for reflection.

Ordinary Ukrainians have spent much of the year hiding in bomb shelters and supporting the war effort any way they can.

Many, like 75-year-old Valentyna Kyrsan, have lost loved ones.

"I buried my son who died in service. I also buried my husband. I think it's very clear to you I'm on my own now and it's very, very hard. I wish you a nice, peaceful day, and that such a thing (war) will never repeat in your lives."

Fighting in the 12-month conflict continues to rage on in Ukraine's east and south.

Russia's Wagner private army claimed on Friday to have captured another village on the outskirts of Bakhmut, the small mining city in the east that has been the focus of Moscow's offensive.

And the war, which Russia calls a "special military operation", has no end in sight.

Anatolii Kushnir, who has been donating his pension to the war effort, came out to Independence Square in Kyiv to cheer for "our boys, freezing" in the frontline.