Ukraine's president appeals to Russian citizens: 'The truth must be known'

Russia claims it has knocked out Ukraine’s air defense system

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan reports from the ground in Kyiv and discusses Russia claiming they’ve disabled Ukrainian air defenses.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an appeal to Russian citizens to explain his views on Russian aggression towards his country, saying he does not want a war but that his country will defend itself against hostilities.

“We have no need for another Cold War, or a bloody war, or a hybrid war,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted online Thursday morning local time, hours before Russia’s eventual invasion of his country.

“Today I initiated a phone conversation with the president of the Russian Federation. The result was silence. Although it’s the Donbas where there should be silence,” he added.

Zelenskyy said his administration’s goal is peace with Russia. 

“They say that Ukraine may pose a threat to Russia. This wasn’t a case in the past, nor is it now, and won’t be in the future. Our main goal is to maintain peace in Ukraine and keep Ukrainian citizens safe,” Zelenskyy said.

He continued: “For this we are prepared to hold discussions with everyone, including you [Russia], in whatever format you like at whatever venue.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint press conference with European Council President in Kiev on March 3, 2021.(Photo by SERGEY DOLZHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“If the leadership of Russia does not want to sit at the table with us to make peace, perhaps it will sit at the table with you. Does Russia want a war? I would very much like an answer to this question. But that answer depends only on you, citizens of the Russian Federation,” he said.

“And if the leadership of Russia doesn’t want, for the sake of peace, to sit at the table with us, maybe it’ll sit at the table with you. Do the Russians want war? I’d love to answer that question. But the answer only depends on you – citizens of Russia.”

In the video, Zelenskyy also encouraged his own citizens to remain steadfast.

US President Joe Biden(R) meets with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, on September 1, 2021, in Washington, DC.
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“But if we are attacked militarily, if they try to take away our freedom, our lives, our children’s’ lives, we will defend ourselves,” he added. “When you attack, you will see our faces and not our spines, our faces.”

“Russian TV will surely not show this video, but the Russian people must watch it. The truth must be known. And that truth is that this all needs to stop now, before it’s too late,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine’s defense minister: “Today I appeal to you once again: keep calm! If possible, stay home. The situation is under control, but our army needs your support now more than ever. Your peace of mind and confidence in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is currently the best help.”

Hours later, Russian forces launched missiles into Ukraine and invaded border cities, prompting another statement from the Ukrainian leader.

“Stay calm, stay at home, the army is doing its work,” Zelenskyy said, as videos of Kyiv show traffic jams of residents attempting to leave the city. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy talks during a press conference at the Ukraine’s embassy in Paris on April 16, 2021 after a working lunch with French President.
(Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

He added: “Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine.”

Zelensky speaks to the nation. He says he’s declared martial law and urges Ukrainians to stay home.

“We are working. The army is working,” he says. “Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine.”

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