Ukraine derailed Russian attack plan: Zelensky
Ukraine’s president said his country had “already earned” the right to join the European Union and urged EU leaders to make a decision.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that Ukraine’s military had blocked the Kremlin’s push to capture and oust Kiev and urged Russia to pressure leader Vladimir Putin to halt the invasion.
Speaking in a new video address, Mr Zelensky accused Moscow of trying to overthrow him and establish a puppet state in Ukraine.
“We have derailed their plan,” the 44-year-old leader said, emphasizing that Ukrainian forces are controlling the capital Kiev and its surrounding main cities.
Mr Zelensky said the Russians have deployed “missiles, fighter jets, drones, artillery, armored vehicles, sabotage and air forces” against Ukraine and attacked “residential areas”.
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Mr Zelensky said Ukrainians were fighting against Russian troops in several cities, including the southern city of Odessa, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the capital Kiev. He said the western city of Lviv and other cities in western and central Ukraine were targeted by airstrikes.
Ukraine, Mr Zelensky said, has “already” earned the right to join the EU and urged EU leaders to make that decision.
“It will be prime evidence of our country’s support,” he said.
Mr Zelensky also urged Germany and Hungary to separate Russia from the SWIFT banking system so that Moscow could be punished for attacking their country.
Mr. Zelensky said, “There is already almost full support from EU countries to separate Russia from SWIFT. I hope Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision.”
The Ukrainian president – a former comedian who rose to power in 2019 – also thanked Russians who spoke out against the war and asked them to keep pressure on the Kremlin.
“Just stop the people who are lying to you, lying to us, lying to the whole world,” he said.
“Thousands of victims. Hundreds of them were taken prisoner,” he said.
“The sooner you tell your government that the war must stop immediately, the longer your people will live.”
On Thursday, Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that, according to Kiev, killed 198 civilians, including three children, and raised fears of a major conflict in Europe.