Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday said his countrymen are not afraid of anything, but he wants peace, and he appealed to the world to get tough on Moscow before more civilians are massacred.
He vowed that Ukrainians will continue to resist the Russian invaders, but he wants to stop the bloodshed.
“Russia wants to crush us, to erase us, but we are still standing. We are resisting, the whole world is helping us,” he said.
Mr. Zelenskyy added, “I don’t Ukraine’s history to be a legend about 300 Spartans.”
“I want peace and I want peace in my country,” he said. “We are on our land, we are ready for anything.”
Mr. Zelenskyy addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, saying the Moscow leader’s demands are unclear and their criticism of the Kyiv government is unfounded.
“What do you want from us? Leave our lands. If you don’t want to leave, sit down with me to talk. I’m available. I’m your neighbor, talk to me. What are you afraid of? We don’t threaten anyone. We are not terrorists,” Mr. Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv.
Mr. Zelenskky said it’s not so much that he wants to talk to Mr. Putin, whose forces seized the city of Kherson and are shelling other major cities, but that he probably has to.
“The world has to talk with Putin,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. “There are no other ways to stop this war.”
President Biden has said that the U.S. will not send troops into Ukraine but will punish Russia with sanctions, the same stance taken by NATO countries that surround Ukraine.