People in Ukraine are welcoming what they consider to be the first day of spring, following a winter that some felt they might not survive. They feared Russian forces would weaponize energy, a suspicion that came to pass.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social media on Wednesday that civilians have persevered through "winter terror." The season brought repeated strikes on their infrastructure, leaving many in the cold.
Also on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "This winter is over. It was very difficult. And every Ukrainian, without exaggeration, felt this difficulty. But we managed to provide Ukraine with energy and heat."
Winter also brought a sustained Russian push to capture the eastern city of Bakhmut, which has become a symbol of resistance. Troops have been trying to surround the city, but Ukrainian defenders say they have no plans to withdraw.
One soldier said, "If you can hear it, there's gunfire on the outskirts -- a few explosions, shells flying. But we are still standing in Bakhmut."
Some of Zelenskyy's aides wonder whether the human cost has been too great. Alexander Rodnyansky, an economic adviser to the president, told CNN on Wednesday that military leaders will weigh all options, including a strategic withdrawal.