Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday that he has authorized the release of prisoners with combat experience to help in his nation’s resistance against Russia’s invasion.
Zelensky shared the remarks during an address that called on “everyone” who could join “in the struggle for our state” to do so.
⚡️Zelensky: Ukraine to release prisoners with combat experience.
Zelensky said it was a difficult moral choice but that it was necessary for the country’s defense. He said the the prisoners will be fighting in the hottest spots.
“The key is defense now.”
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) February 28, 2022
“Ukrainians with real combat experience will be released from custody and will be able to compensate for their guilt in the hottest spots,” Zelensky said, according to The Kyiv Independent.
“All sanctions against some individuals who participated in the Anti-Terrorist Operation will be lifted. The key thing now is defense,” he added.
Zelensky also argued that every shelling “unites us” even more.
“In every conversation with our partners I hear sincere respect. Ukraine has shown the world who we are, and Russia has shown what it has become,” he said. “Every crime, every shelling that the invaders commit against us unites us and our partners even more. Russia did not expect such a solid and powerful response, but the Ukrainians changed that story.”
“Europeans are aware that our soldiers are fighting for our country, and, consequently, for the whole of Europe,” Ukraine’s president added.
Zelenksy has also called on Russian troops to stop fighting and abandon their equipment in defiance of Putin’s invasion.
“Abandon your equipment. Get out of here. Don’t believe your commanders. Don’t believe your propagandists. Just save your lives,” he said.
In addition, Zelensky has called for his nation’s immediate acceptance for membership into the European Union in response to Russia’s invasion.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine urged the EU to grant his country immediate membership of the bloc.
He also had a message for Russian troops in Ukraine: “Abandon your military equipment and leave,” he said. “Save your lives. Leave.”https://t.co/JGBMQM762D pic.twitter.com/yZI2TmjuGw
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 28, 2022
Zelensky’s call for European Union membership repeated his request on Saturday.
“I say this as frankly as possible now: the people of Ukraine have already earned and have the right to receive membership in the European Union. This will be a key evidence of support for our country. The decisive moment has come to close the long-term strategic discussion once and for all and decide on Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. I discussed this with Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron,” he said in an address on Saturday.
Monday’s urgent speech came shortly after a massive convoy of hundreds of Russian military vehicles was spotted on Sunday in satellite images that showed the vehicles moving toward the capital of Kyiv. The Daily Wire reported:
“A long convoy is stretched out over more than three miles of road, consisting of hundreds of vehicles according to Maxar Technologies, which released the images,” The New York Times reported. “The forces include infantry fighting and supply vehicles around 40 miles northwest of Kyiv.”
Russia launched a three-pronged attack into Ukraine, “toward Kyiv, the capital, from the north; toward Kharkiv, from the northeast; and fanning out from Crimea in the south,” the Times added.
The fighting has led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, and more than 300,000 Ukrainians have now fled to the European Union. The E.U. anticipates that it could see up to four million Ukrainian refugees.