Zelensky pledges to retake all Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a moment of silence during a ceremony honoring the State Rescue Service and awarding the "Rescuer of the Year" award at the Mariinskyi Palace. Presidential Press Office/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

As the Ukrainian military continued its advances in the country's eastern regions on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to recapture all Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine.

"Perhaps it seems to someone that after a series of victories we have a certain lull," Zelensky said in his daily video address, adding that this was in fact "preparation" for the recapture of the key cities of Mariupol, Melitopol and Kherson, the next stage of the counteroffensive.

"Because Ukraine must be free - the whole of it," the Ukrainian army would not only seek to recapture the territory it controlled before the Russian invasion began, but also territory in the Donbass and Crimea that has been in the hands of Moscow-backed separatists since 2014, Zelensky said.

Russia seized large areas of southern and eastern Ukraine after invading the country in February and currently still occupies around a fifth of Ukrainian territory.