Ukraine cuts diplomatic ties with Russia
Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky has announced in a televised statement on Thursday that his nation had cut diplomatic relations with Russia. He asked the public to support the national armed forces, including by taking up arms and preparing for a fight. He promised to lift personal sanctions, which he had imposed previously, from anyone willing to defend Ukraine.
Zelensky said the Russian attack against Ukraine was similar to a Nazi invasion. He asked Russian citizens to protest against its government decision to launch it.
The Ukrainian leader called on the country's media to support national unity by conducting “information mobilization”. He asked the media “to report how strongly our military is fighting”. He said there was a shortage of such information and that the troops needed support from the public.
The president claimed that “the enemy suffered serious losses” and the damage will grow further.
Zelensky said his government was “already distributing weapons” to every one willing to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty. He called on all able-bodied persons to report for duty at mobilization centers.
He stressed that under the circumstances “there are no opponents among us” and offered to lift personal sanctions, which his government imposed on some political opponents, provided they are prepared “to defend our nation with arms”.
The Russian early morning attack against Ukrainian forces was “villainous” and similar to how the Nazi Germany attacked Soviet Union during World War II, Zelensky said. Russia was walking “the path of evil,” he added. He appealed to the Russian people to oppose what was happening in Ukraine with mass protests. Zelensky briefly switched to the Russian language at this point of his speech.
Russia launched its operation in Ukraine on Thursday morning. It was after the leaders of the breakaway Donbass republics asked Moscow for military assistance in response to what they claim is an increase in “Ukrainian aggression.” The Defense Ministry said it was delivering precision strikes at Ukrainian military infrastructure like military airfields, warplanes, air defense systems and weapons depots. Moscow stressed it did not intend to hurt Ukrainian civilians.
The operation was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said it was pre-emptive in nature. He too made historic parallels with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, accusing the Josef Stalin government of failing to prepare the country for the imminent aggression. He claimed that Ukraine was used by NATO as a proxy that could threaten Russia militarily and said that his government has to act now to demilitarize its neighbor and ensure that no attack against Russia happens in the future on NATO’s terms.