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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses US offer to flee Kyiv, urges Ukraine to ‘stand firm’

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses US offer to flee Kyiv, urges Ukraine to ‘stand firm’

Kyiv: Russian troops stormed toward Ukraine’s capital early Saturday as explosions reverberated through the city and the president urged the country to “stand firm” against the siege that could determine its future.

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He refused American help to evacuate, saying: “The fight is here.” Hundreds of casualties were reported in the fighting, which included shelling that sliced through a Kyiv apartment building and pummeled bridges and schools.

As rumours of Zelenskiy’s fleeing the country floated on social media, the Ukrainian President posted a video of him, along with his key aides, standing outside the presidency building and vowing to defend Kyiv against the Russian invasion.

“We’re all here. Our military is here. Citizens in society are here. We’re all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way,” Zelensky said.

There also were growing signs that Russia may be seeking to overthrow Ukraine’s government, which U.S. officials have described as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate objective. The assault represented Putin’s boldest effort yet to redraw the world map and revive Moscow’s Cold War-era influence. It triggered new international efforts to end the invasion, including direct sanctions on Putin. As his country confronted explosions and gunfire, and as the fate of Kyiv hung in the balance, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed for a cease-fire and warned in a bleak statement that multiple cities were under attack. “This night we have to stand firm,” he said.

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The Ukrainian President has been reaching out to other countries, especially the West, for military aid. On Friday, Zelensky said he had spoken with US President Joe Biden about military aid and sanctions.

“Strengthening sanctions, concrete defence assistance and an anti-war coalition have just been discussed” with Biden, Zelensky wrote on Twitter while expressing gratitude for “strong” American support..

The West-backed resolution, calling for unconditional withdrawal from Ukrainian territory, also failed at the UN Security Council as Russia expectedly vetoed it. Eleven members voted for the adoption of the resolution and three, including India and China, abstained.

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