Ukraine has 'derailed' Russian attack plan: Zelensky

The Ukranian President said his country has "already" earned the right to join the European Union and urged the EU leaders to make that decision.

February 26, 2022 05:21 pm | Updated 07:00 pm IST

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the nation via his smartphone in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the nation via his smartphone in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday said Ukraine's force had halted the Kremlin's push to capture Kyiv and oust him and urged Russians to pressure leader Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion.

Speaking in a new video address, Mr Zelensky accused Moscow of seeking to overthrow him and establish a puppet state in Ukraine.

"We've derailed their plan," the 44-year-old leader said, stressing that the Ukrainian army was in control of the capital Kyiv and main cities around it.

Mr Zelensky said Russians have deployed "missiles, fighters, drones, artillery, armoured vehicles, saboteurs, and airborne forces" against Ukraine and have hit "residential areas."

Also read: Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | February 26, 2022

Mr Zelensky said Ukrainians had been fighting against Russians troops in a number of cities including the southern city of Odessa, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the capital Kyiv. The western city of Lviv and other cities in western and central Ukraine have been targeted with air strikes, he said.

Ukraine, Mr Zelensky said, has "already" earned the right to join the European Union and urged the EU leaders to make that decision.

"This will be key evidence of our country's support," he said.

Mr Zelensky also urged Germany and Hungary to back severing Russia from the SWIFT banking system to punish Moscow for invading his country.

"There is already almost full support from the EU countries to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. I hope that Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision," Mr Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president -- a former comedian who came to power in 2019 -- also thanked Russians who spoke out against the war and asked them to keep up the pressure on the Kremlin.

"Simply stop those who are lying to you, lying to us, lying to the entire world," he said.

"Thousands of victims. Hundreds of those taken prisoner," he added.

"The sooner you tell your government that the war must immediately stop, the more of your people will survive."

On Thursday, Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that has killed 198 civilians, including three children, according to Kyiv and sparked fears of a greater conflict in Europe.

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