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Volodymyr Zelensky Tries to Rally His People as Battle for Kyiv Rages

todayFebruary 26, 2022 1

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KYIV, Ukraine — As Russian troops lay siege to Kyiv, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, again appeared on camera on Saturday to furnish proof of his continued presence in his country’s capital, praise his outgunned and outmanned military and beseech Western countries for more support.

“We have withstood and successfully repelled enemy attacks,” Mr. Zelensky said in a video posted around noon local time, the latest of several speeches he has released. “The fighting continues in many cities and districts of our state, but we know that we protect the country, the land, the future of children.”

He said the Ukrainian army still controlled the capital and key cities nearby.

“The occupiers wanted to put a blockade on the seat of our state’s power and set up their puppets here,” he said.

“We messed up their plans, they did not gain any advantage over us,” he added in Ukrainian. “The enemy used everything against us: missiles, fighters, drones, artillery, armored vehicles, saboteurs, landing. The occupiers are hitting residential areas using jet artillery, trying to destroy energy facilities. They have very vile tactics.”

Mr. Zelensky again asked the European Union for progress toward making Ukraine a member. The European Union has offered the country financial assistance and has slapped sanctions on top Russian officials, banks and businesses in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“The people of Ukraine have already deserved and have the right to become a member of the European Union,” he said.

And he urged Ukrainians at home and abroad to fight for their country.

“Every Ukrainian needs to remember one thing — if you can stop and destroy the occupiers — do it!” he said. “Anyone who can return to Ukraine, come back to defend Ukraine.”

He added: “Everyone can defend Ukraine from abroad, do it ceaselessly, persistently and together. All friends of Ukraine who want to join the defense — come. We will give you a weapon.”

Toward the end of the video, Mr. Zelensky switched to Russian to thank Russian civilians who have been protesting against the war. More than 1,800 Russians were arrested on Thursday at demonstrations across the country. He appealed to Russians to oppose the war to prevent a dramatic loss of life.

He called the Russian soldiers who had invaded “thousands of victims, prisoners who simply cannot understand why they were sent to Ukraine, sent to Ukraine to die, to kill others.”

“The sooner you tell your government that the war must stop immediately, the more your people will survive,” he said.

He urged all Russians to “just stop those who lie, lie to you, lie to us, lie to everyone, to the whole world. We need to end this war. We can live in peace, in a global peace.”

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todayFebruary 26, 2022