Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to urge foreigners to come to Ukraine to fight against the Russians, promising to arm them and glorify them for doing so.
“We successfully fought off enemy attacks. We are defending our country, our land, future of our children,” Zelensky said. “Kyiv and key places near the capital are under our control. The occupiers wanted to capture our capital and install their puppets like Donetsk. We broke their idea.”
“Anyone who wants to come over here and defend our country, please come, and we will give you arms,” he continued. “Anybody defends will have been glorified.”
The remarks come after the most intense night of fighting so far, which saw major explosions and gun battles in cities across Ukraine.
“Anyone who wants to come over here and defend our country, please come, we will give you arms”
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 26, 2022
Zelensky also posted a video to Twitter that appeared to be taken shortly after the sun came up in which he encouraged Ukrainians not to listen to fake reports that were floating around claiming that they were surrendering to the Russians.
“Recently, fake info was spread about me ordering our army to lay down arms and evacuate,” Zelensky said. “It’s untrue. I’m here, we are not laying down, we will protect our state. This is our land, our country, our kids, and we will defend them.”
Не вірте фейкам. pic.twitter.com/wiLqmCuz1p
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Zelensky reportedly refused to be evacuated from the country’s capital city of Kyiv as Russian military forces attacked the city and surrounding areas.
“The U.S. government is prepared to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky leave Kyiv to avoid being captured or killed by advancing Russian forces, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials,” The Washington Post reported. “But so far, the president has refused to go.”
A senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation that U.S. officials had with Zelensky when he was reportedly asked to evacuate says that Zelensky responded: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”
As fighting intensified, Ukraine urged its citizens to take up arms, and Molotov cocktails, to fight the Russians.
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Zelensky said in a statement. “We will lift sanctions on all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country as part of territorial defense with weapons in hands.”
NATO activated the NATO Response Force for the first time ever on Friday which readies thousands of soldiers that are part of the multinational force consisting of land, air, sea and special operations forces.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned during a press conference on Friday that Putin’s “objectives are not limited to Ukraine.”
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