‘Enemy Has Marked Me No. 1 Target, Family Is No. 2,’ Says Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky

Dozens have been reported killed after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Friday to remain in Kyiv as his troops battled Russian invaders who’re advancing towards the capital within the largest assault on a European state since World War Two.

Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of warfare by President Vladimir Putin. An estimated 100,000 individuals fled as explosions and gunfire rocked main cities. Dozens have been reported killed.

US and Ukrainian officers say Russia goals to seize Kyiv and topple the federal government. Russia on Thursday seized the Chernobyl former nuclear energy plant north of Kyiv, alongside the shortest path to the capital from Belarus, the place Moscow has staged troops.

“(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target,” Zelensky warned in a video message. “My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”

“I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine.”

Putin says Russia is finishing up “a special military operation” to guard individuals, together with Russian residents, subjected to “genocide” in Ukraine – an allegation the West calls baseless propaganda.

Asked if he was nervous about Zelensky’s security, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed CBS: “To the best of my knowledge, President Zelensky remains in Ukraine at his post, and of course we’re concerned for the safety of all of our friends in Ukraine – government officials and others.”

Sanctions, army advances

A democratic nation of 44 million individuals, Ukraine is Europe’s largest nation by space after Russia itself. It voted for independence on the fall of the Soviet Union and has not too long ago stepped up efforts to hitch the NATO army alliance and the European Union, aspirations that infuriate Moscow.

Putin denied for months that he was planning an invasion, even because the United States warned an assault was looming and shared satellite tv for pc pictures of Russian forces massing on Ukraine’s borders.

The United States, Britain, Japan, Canada, Australia and the European Union on Thursday unveiled extra sanctions on Russia on high of these imposed earlier this week, aiming to freeze the nation’s banks, authorities and elite out of the worldwide monetary system.

Russia is likely one of the world’s largest vitality producers, and each it and Ukraine are among the many high exporters of grain. War and sanctions will disrupt economies all over the world already going through a disaster as they emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington and different NATO members have despatched army support to Ukraine however there isn’t any transfer to ship troops to struggle alongside Ukrainian forces for concern of sparking a wider European battle.

Zelensky stated on Friday that 137 army personnel and civilians had been killed within the combating thus far, with lots of of others injured. Ukrainian officers had beforehand reported not less than 70 individuals killed.

Some 90 km (60 miles) north of Kyiv, Chernobyl has been taken over by armed forces with out figuring out marks who disarmed a Ukrainian army unit guarding the station, Ukraine’s state nuclear regulator stated.

The regulator stated there had been no casualties, that nothing had been destroyed and that radiation ranges have been unchanged. It knowledgeable the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had misplaced management of the plant, it added.

With heavy combating being reported on a number of fronts, the United Nations Security Council will vote on Friday on a draft decision that may condemn Russia’s invasion and require Moscow’s quick withdrawal.

However, Moscow can veto the measure, and it was unclear how China, which has rejected calling Russia’s transfer an invasion, would vote.

The invasion has drawn protests within the United States, Europe and inside Russia itself, the place authorities detained lots of of demonstrators who took to the streets on Thursday.

Dmitry Muratov, a Russian newspaper editor who received the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, informed the BBC in an interview that Feb. 24, the day of the invasion, would go down because the day “Russia’s future was taken away from it”.

“Our peace-loving Russian people will now feel the hatred of the world because we are starting a third world war in the center of Europe.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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