Zelenskyy: Russian aggression is not limited to Ukraine alone

Zelenskyy: Russian aggression is not limited to Ukraine alone

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia is attacking all of Europe with its aggression and stopping the invasion of Ukraine is essential to the security of all democracies.

In his late-night address to Ukrainians on Saturday, Zelenskyy said Russian aggression was “not intended to be limited to Ukraine alone” and that “the entire European project is a target for Russia.”

“That is why it is not only the moral duty of all democracies, all forces in Europe, to support Ukraine’s desire for peace,” he said. “This is, in fact, a defense strategy for every civilized state.”

Your address came as civilians kept running away eastern parts of the country before an expected attack and Firefighters search for survivors in a northern city no longer occupied by Russian forces.

Various European leaders have made efforts to show solidarity with the battle-wounded nation. Zelenskyy thanked the leaders of Britain and Austria for their visits to Ukraine’s capital kyiv on Saturday and promises of further support.

He also thanked the president of the European Commission and the prime minister of Canada for a global fundraising event that raised more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) for Ukrainians who have fled their homes.

Zelenskyy repeated his call for a full embargo on Russian oil and gas, which he called the sources of Russia’s “self-confidence and impunity.”

“Freedom has no time to wait,” Zelenskyy said. “When tyranny begins its aggression against everything that keeps peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.”

More than six weeks after the invasion began, Russia has withdrawn its troops from the northern part of the country, around kyivand refocused on the Donbas region in the east.

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Newly released Maxar Technologies satellite images collected on Friday showed a 13-kilometre (8-mile) convoy of military vehicles heading south from the Donbas region through the Ukrainian city of Velykyi Burluk.

Western military analysts said an arc of territory in eastern Ukraine was under Russian control, from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in the north to Kherson in the south.

But counterattacks threaten Russian control of Kherson, according to Western assessments, and Ukrainian forces are repelling Russian attacks elsewhere in Donbas, a largely Russian-speaking and industrial region.

Civilians were evacuating eastern ukraine following a missile attack on Friday that killed at least 52 people and injured more than 100 at a train station where thousands were clamoring to leave.

Ukrainian authorities have asked civilians to leave ahead of an imminent intensified offensive by Russian forces in the east. With trains not leaving Kramatorsk on Saturday, terrified residents boarded buses or found other ways to leave, fearing the kind of ruthless raids and occupations by Russian invaders that caused food shortages, demolished buildings and death to other cities.

“It was terrifying. The horror, the horror,” a resident told Britain’s Sky broadcaster, recalling Friday’s attack on the train station. “God forbid, living through this again. No, I do not want to.

Ukraine’s state railway company said residents of Kramatorsk and other parts of Donbas could flee through other train stations. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 10 evacuation corridors were planned for Saturday.

Zelenskyy called the train station attack the latest example of war crimes by Russian forces and said it should motivate the West to do more to help his country defend itself.

Russia denied responsibility and accused the Ukrainian military of firing on the station to blame Moscow for the civilian casualties. A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry detailed the trajectory of the missile and the positions of the Ukrainian troops to strengthen the argument.

Major General Igor Konashenkov alleged that Ukraine’s security services were preparing a “cynically staged” media operation in Irpin, another city near kyiv, with the intention of attributing civilian casualties to Russian forces (falsely, he said) and stage the assassination of a fake Russian intelligence. team that intended to kill the witnesses. The claims could not be independently verified.

Western experts and Ukrainian authorities insisted that Russia attacked the station. The remains of the rocket were painted with the words “For the children” in Russian. The phrase seemed to suggest that the missile was sent to avenge the loss or subjugation of the children, although its exact meaning remained unclear.

Ukrainian authorities have worked to identify victims and document possible war crimes in the north. The mayor of Bucha, a town near kyiv where graphic evidence of killings of civilians emerged after Russian forces withdrew, search teams said they were still finding bodies of people shot at close range in courtyards, parks and city squares.

Workers unearthed 67 bodies on Friday from a mass grave near a church, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general. Russia has falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.

Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly accused Russian forces of committing atrocities. A total of 176 children have died, while 324 more have been injured, the Attorney General’s Office said on Saturday.

in a interview with The Associated Press Inside his heavily guarded presidential office complex, Zelenskyy said he is committed to negotiating a diplomatic end to the war even though Russia has “tortured” Ukraine. He also acknowledged that peace probably won’t come soon. The talks so far have not included Russian President Vladimir Putin or other top officials.

“You have to fight, but fight for life. You can’t fight for dust when there’s nothing and no people. That is why it is important to stop this war,” he said.

Ukrainian authorities have said they expect to find more mass killings once they reach the southern port city of Mariupol, which is also in Donbas and has been the subject of a month-long blockade and heavy fighting. The city’s location on the Sea of ​​Azov is critical to establishing a land bridge from the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine eight years ago.

As journalists who had been largely absent from the city began to return, new images emerged of the devastation of an airstrike in a theater last month that allegedly killed hundreds of civilians seeking refuge.

Ukrainian officials have pleaded with Western powers almost daily to send more weapons and punish more Moscow with sanctionsincluding the exclusion of Russian banks from the global financial system and a full EU embargo on Russian oil and gas.

During his visit on Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he expects more EU sanctions against Russia, but defended his country’s opposition so far to cutting off Russian gas deliveries.

A package of sanctions imposed this week “will not be the last,” the foreign minister said, acknowledging that “as long as people die, each sanction remains insufficient.” Austria is militarily neutral and is not a member of NATO.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit came a day after the UK pledged an additional 100 million pounds ($130 million) worth of high-quality military equipment. Johnson also confirmed further economic support, guaranteeing an additional $500 million in World Bank loans to Ukraine, bringing Britain’s total loan guarantee to $1 billion.

In the AP interview, Zelenskyy noted increased support, but expressed frustration when asked if the weapons and equipment Ukraine has received from the West are enough to change the outcome of the war.

“Not yet,” he said, switching to English for emphasis. “Of course it’s not enough.”

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Anna reported from Bucha, Ukraine. Robert Burns in Washington, Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka in London, and Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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