Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video of himself and other top government officials who appeared to be out in the open in Kyiv Friday to bolster morale and debunk Russian propaganda that claimed he had fled the city.
“We are all here,” he said in a video posted to social media. “We’re in here. We are in Kiev. We defend Ukraine,” a message posted to his Facebook page said.
The video shows Zelensky with four men, three of which he identifies as Ukraine’s prime minister, presidential advisor, and head of the president’s office, according to Business Insider.
“Our military is here. Our citizens and society are here. We are all here defending our independence, our state, and this is how it’s going to be,” he continued. “Glory to our defenders, men and women. Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes.”
⚡️Ukraine’s Zelensky posts a new video of himself and his team outside the presidential administration in Kyiv’s government quarter after rumors in Russian media that he’d fled. “We are here. We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine.” pic.twitter.com/bgHyrsbVFs
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 25, 2022
Russia has reportedly propagandized against Zelensky, claiming he has abandoned Kyiv and Ukraine amid the Russian onslaught. Zelensky and top officials from his cabinet, as well as many other elected leaders in Ukraine, remain in Kyiv in a defiant gesture toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky has continued to make statements and speeches while the Russian military continues its invasion of Ukraine. In a speech earlier Friday, Zelensky said that Russia’s aggression is a threat to all of Europe. Ukraine has largely been isolated in its fight against Russia as allies in Europe and America have yet to sanction some of Russia’s largest exports, such as oil and natural gas, or offer to fight alongside Ukraine. Zelensky said earlier that he is Russia’s “number one target.”
“The Chancellor of Germany Scholz said yesterday about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Europe has not seen this for 75 years. It’s true, but it’s also not true that it’s just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Zelensky said, according to a translation of his remarks. “This is the beginning of a war against Europe, against European unity, against basic human rights in Europe, against all rules of coexistence on the continent, against the fact that European countries refuse to divide borders by force.”
The Ukrainian president called for tougher sanctions to be levied on Russia, as well as for increased financial and military assistance. Zelensky also called for the implementation of a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“When bombs fall in Kyiv, this is happening in Europe. When missiles kill our people, this is the death of all Europeans. Demand more protection for Europe, more protection for Ukraine, as part of a democratic world,” he said.
“The institutions of Europe are in no hurry,” he continued. “Demand from your governments that Ukraine receive more financial and more military aid. Because this aid is aid – aid to Europe.”