Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, perhaps Russia’s No. 1 target as it presses on with its invasion of Zelenskyy’s country, made and disseminated a video address to the world Monday night from his presidential office in the capital city of Kyiv.
“Now I will say one thing: I stay here,” Zelenskyy said in the video, as translated by the English version of the country’s official presidential website. “I stay in Kyiv on Bankova Street.
“I’m not hiding, and I’m not afraid of anyone.”
Ukraine has reportedly thwarted no fewer than three recent assassination attempts against its president, who has maintained he has to stay in the capital to show strength and resolve to his country’s people, armed forces and civilian militias. The militias include some armed members of the country’s parliament.
“Today is the 12th, 12th evening of our struggle, our defense,” Zelenskyy said in the address. “We are all on the ground; we are all working. Everyone is where they should be. I am in Kyiv. My team is with me.
“The territorial defense is on the ground. The servicemen are in positions. Our heroes! Doctors, rescuers, transporters, diplomats, journalists …
“Everyone. We are all at war. We all contribute to our victory, which will definitely be achieved. By force of arms and our army. By force of words and our diplomacy. By force of spirit, which the first, the second and each of us have.”
Zelenskyy praised those taking up arms and boldly defending the country against the Russian invasion, which has made Russia the most sanctioned nation on the planet. (Indeed, it may yet face even greater restrictions, as the EU and America ponder restrictions on the import of oil from the fuel-rich Russia, and as pressure to impose no-fly zones over Ukraine intensifies.)
“Take a look at our country today,” continued Zelenskyy, who has himself emphatically urged other nations to join the struggle with oil and flight restrictions). “Chaplynka, Melitopol, Tokmak, Novotroitske and Kherson. Starobilsk –— everywhere people defended themselves, although they do not have weapons there. But these are our people, and that’s why they have weapons.
“They have courage. Dignity. And hence the ability to go out and say: I’m here, it’s mine, and I won’t give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine.”
His comments came in the face of comments from a few critics on Twitter contending he is not on site as he has claimed. That criticism, in turn, has been branded part of Moscow’s efforts to spread disinformation and control unfavorable media as the invasion grinds on.
Zelenskyy vowed to continue Russia’s “nightmare” at the hands of fervent Ukraine resistance.
“For Russia, it is like a nightmare,” he said. “They forgot that we are not afraid of paddy wagons and batons. We are not afraid of tanks and machine guns. When the main thing is on our side, truth, as it is now.
“Mariupol and Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy. Odessa and Kyiv. Mykolaiv. Zhytomyr and Korosten. Ovruch. And many other cities.”
Zelenskyy denounced Russia for offering a cease-fire for humanitarian corridors, only to pick up the fighting, endangering women and children seeking to flee the violence. And even as it advanced proposals for new humanitarian corridors on Monday, it has insisted that those corridors run through Russia and Belarus, which has brought objections among Ukrainians concerned about being forced onto territory controlled by enemy combatants.
“They even destroy buses that have to take people out,” Zelenskyy continued. “But … at the same time, they are opening a small corridor to the occupied territory for several dozen people. Not so much to Russia, as to propagandists. Directly to their TV cameras. Like, that’s the one who saves. Just cynicism. Just propaganda. Nothing more. No humanitarian sense.”