The President of Ukraine reiterated his call for a full embargo on Russian oil and gas, which he called sources of “self-confidence and impunity.”
Kyiv, Ukraine – Russia is targeting the whole of Europe with its invasion of Ukraine, and stopping Moscow’s aggression is important for the security of all democracies, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as Russian forces prepare for battle in his country’s east.
Addressing the “free people of a brave country”, Zelensky said in a video message to Ukrainians late in the evening that Russia’s military goal “was not limited to Ukraine” and “the goal of the European project is the goal.”
“Therefore, supporting Ukraine’s quest for peace is not just a moral duty of all democracies, of all European forces,” he said. “It is, in fact, a strategy to protect every civilized state.”
His appeal came as civilians continued to flee the eastern part of the country before the expected attack, and emergency workers were looking for survivors in cities north of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. no longer busy Russian forces.
Russia withdrew its troops from the northern part of the country and refocused on the eastern region of Donbass, where Moscow-backed separatists had fought Ukrainian troops for eight years and controlled certain territory before the war, now on its 46th day.
Western military analysts say the area in eastern Ukraine is under attack, from Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second largest city – in the north to Kherson in the south. Recently published satellite images from Maxar Technologies, collected on Friday, show an 8-kilometer column of military equipment heading south to the Donbass through the town of Veliky Burluk.
However, Western assessments have expressed growing confidence in Ukraine’s defenders’ ability to repel Russian attacks, showing that Russian troops are suffering from low morale and increasing casualties.
The UK Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that the Russian military was trying to respond to growing losses by increasing the number of troops at the expense of personnel who had been discharged from military service since 2012.
In a Twitter update, the ministry also said that the Russian military’s efforts to “create more fighting power” also include attempts to recruit from Transnistria, Moldova’s separatist region bordering Ukraine.
Russian-backed separatists in eastern Moldova took up arms in 1992 to create an internationally unrecognized Transnistria with about 1,500 troops.
Several European leaders made efforts to show solidarity with the war-torn Ukraine. In his video address, Zelensky thanked the leaders of Great Britain and Austria for their Saturday visit to Kyiv and promised further support.
He also thanked the President of the European Commission and the Prime Minister of Canada for a global fundraising event that brought in more than 10 billion euros ($ 11 billion) for the millions of Ukrainians who have left their homes.
Zelensky reiterated his call for a full embargo on Russian oil and gas, which he called sources of “self-confidence and impunity.” Some European countries are heavily dependent on imported Russian energy.
“Freedom does not have time to wait,” Zelensky said. “If tyranny begins its aggression against everything that supports peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.”
In an interview with the Associated Press in his heavily guarded presidential office complex, Zelensky said he was seeking an agreement on a diplomatic end to the war, even if Russia “tortured” Ukraine.
He also acknowledged that peace is not likely to come soon. Talks have not yet included Russian President Vladimir Putin or other top officials.
“We have to fight, but fight for life. You can’t fight for dust when there’s nothing and no people. That is why it is important to stop this war, ”the president said.
Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of war crimes against thousands of civilians during the invasion, including airstrikes on hospitals, a rocket attack that killed 52 people. train station Friday and the shooting of residents of cities in the north at close range.
Graphic evidence of civilian killings appeared after Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, and firefighters searched buildings in Borodyanka, another town near Kiev. Russia denies involvement in war crimes and falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.
Ukrainian authorities have said they expect more mass killings as soon as they arrive Southern port city of Mariupol, which is also in the Donbass and has been subjected to a monthly blockade and intense fighting. The location of the city on the Sea of Azov is crucial for the creation of a land bridge from the Crimean peninsula, which Russia captured in Ukraine eight years ago.
Almost every day, Ukrainian officials called on Western powers to send more weapons and continue to punish Moscow with sanctionsincluding the exclusion of Russian banks from the global financial system and the complete EU embargo Russian gas and oil.
During his visit on Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nechamer said he expected new EU sanctions against Russia, but defended his country’s opposition to a halt to Russian gas supplies.
The sanctions package introduced this week “will not be the last”, the chancellor said, acknowledging that “while people are dying, every sanction is still insufficient.” Austria is military neutral and non-NATO.
The visit of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson took place the day after the United Kingdom promised an additional 100 million pounds (130 million dollars) in high-quality military equipment. Johnson also reaffirmed further economic support by guaranteeing an additional $ 500 million in World Bank loans to Ukraine, increasing the UK’s total loan guarantee to $ 1 billion.
In an interview with AP, Zelensky noted an increase in support, but expressed disappointment when asked if there were enough weapons and equipment that Ukraine received from the West to change the outcome of the war.
“Not yet,” he said, switching to English to emphasize. “Of course that’s not enough.”
Anna reported from the Ukrainian Bucha. Associated Press reporters around the world have contributed to this report.