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Zelenskyy Praises Ukraine's Women 'Defenders'

FILE: Ukrainian government army women soldiers patrol an area in the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday praised Ukrainian women on International Women's Day for taking a central role in defending their country against Russia's invasion.

"I think it is important to give thanks today. To thank all the women who work, teach, study, rescue, heal, fight -- fight for Ukraine," Zelensky said in a short video on social media.

It was also a day "to remember, think about and thank all women who gave their lives for our country", he added.

"Together we are strong. Together we are invincible. Together we are free. And together we will definitely win. We will," Zelensky said.

Rights groups say the war, now in its second year, has placed additional burdens on Ukrainian women, particularly caring responsibilities.

They have also warned of an increase in gender-based violence and human trafficking.