Kyiv, Feb 25: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday slammed allies for ‘looking on from a distance’ as his troops are battling Russian invasion in the biggest attack on a European state since World War II.
Zelenskyy vowed to stay in Kyiv and said the world was still just observing the events in Ukraine from a distance.
“This morning, we are defending our country alone. Just like yesterday, the most powerful country in the world looked on from a distance,” he said in a Facebook video.
“Russia was hit with sanctions yesterday, but these are not enough to get these foreign troops off our soil. Only through solidarity and determination can this be achieved,” he added.
Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin. An estimated 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens have been reported killed.
US and Ukraine said that Russia’s mission is to capture Kyiv and topple the government as Russia on Thursday seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv and has also deployed troops the route from Belarus.
The enemy has marked me down as the number one target,” Zelensky warned in a video message. “My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”
“I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine.”
Leaders from a number of countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. They have also imposed heavy sanctions on Russia.
Putin says Russia is carrying out “a special military operation” to protect people, including Russian citizens, subjected to “genocide” in Ukraine – an accusation the West calls baseless propaganda.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that the US will introduce a new wave of sanctions against Russia in a broad effort to isolate Moscow from the global economy.
The new package of sanctions aims to cut Russia off from the US financial markets and includes freezing the assets of four major Russian banks, including VTB Bank, the nation’s second-biggest bank.
Hours after that, President of the European Council Charles Michel said that the EU has made a political decision to impose additional sanctions on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.
“We took a political decision to add an additional package of mass sanction which will be painful for the Russian regime,” Michel said after the extraordinary EU Summit.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the new EU sanctions against Russia will hit 70 percent of the Russian banking sector, key state-run corporations and deprive Russia of access to modern technologies.
“First, this package includes financial sanctions that cut Russia’s access to the most important capital markets. We are now targeting 70% of the Russian banking market. But also, key state-owned companies including in field of defense,” von der Leyen said after the extraordinary EU Summit.
The military action of Russia comes after Putin recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities.