Mar 3, 2022: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on Russian troops sent by President Vladimir Putin to invade his country to be “confused children.”
Zelenskyy on Thursday called on Ukrainians to continue resisting, and promised that the attackers would have “not a moment’s peace.”
“They will have no peace here,” Zelenskyy said, calling on the Russian soldiers to “go home” and describing them as “confused children who have been used”.
“Protect your Russian-speaking people and not across the world, but at your home,” he said. “You will pay back the full price for everything that you did to us, to our country and to every Ukrainian,” he said.
Zelenskyy said Russia’s changing strategy and the shelling of civilians in cities proved that Ukraine had succeeded in resisting Moscow’s initial plan to claim early victory by ground attack. Zelenskyy said 16,000 foreigners had volunteered to fight for Ukraine.
In a video address at the Ukrainian presidential office, he said that the first of thousands of troops had arrived in Ukraine and had come to defend “freedom and our lives.” “I’m sure [the effort] will succeed,” he added.
Zelenskyy said Ukraine receives daily arms supplies from its international allies. His comments came as Russia acknowledged for the first time since the start of the offensive on February 24 that about 500 Russian soldiers had been killed and about 1,600 wounded in the fighting.
Ukraine has not released the same number of casualties for its armed forces. Fighting continued on several fronts in Ukraine on Thursday, with a column of tanks and other vehicles apparently parked for several days outside the capital, Kyiv.
A second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting in neighboring Belarus is expected on Thursday – although there appears to be little common ground between the two sides. Ahead of the meeting, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that Russia would suppress its military action in Ukraine until it achieves its goals, especially “non-military action in Ukraine”, but he added that it was up to the Ukrainian people to decide which government to choose.
Talks are expected in Brest, Belarus, near the Polish border.
Lavrov voiced regret for civilian casualties during the Russian attack on Ukraine and insisted the Russian military is using only precision weapons against military targets.
He tacitly acknowledged some Russian strikes could have killed civilians, saying “any military action is fraught with casualties, and not just among the military but also civilians”.
Lavrov also accused Western politicians on Thursday of considering a nuclear war. In an interview with Russian and foreign media, Lavrov said, “I would like to point out that in the minds of Western politicians, the idea of nuclear war is constantly circulating and not in the minds of the Russians.”
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