Ukraine’s president releases new video
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a new video online on Friday evening, apparently filmed on the streets of Kiev. Surrounded by his aides, Zelensky told the camera that his team are “all here” in the nation’s capital “defending our independence.” An earlier video by Zelensky was shot in what appeared to be a bunker, fueling rumors that he had fled the city or country amid Russia’s military assault.
Zelensky’s latest video was posted to social media shortly after darkness fell in Kiev on Friday, though its location and time of filming have not been verified. Earlier, Russian troops continued their advance on the city, approaching its outskirts from multiple directions and capturing a key airfield where the Ukrainian military claimed to have turned back the advance only hours earlier.
Zelensky posts a video with top aides + his prime minister, apparently from above ground in Kyiv. “We are all here, our soldiers are here … we are defending our independence” pic.twitter.com/CX7s7Rq0ED— Felix Light (@felix_light) February 25, 2022
As the Russian attack continues, Ukrainian officials have taken to arming civilians and removing age caps for entry into the country’s military.
However, in addition to arming the populace and signaling defiance, Zelensky said earlier on Friday that he is willing to “sit at the negotiation table to stop human fatalities.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described Zelensky’s statement as “positive,” and Moscow has offered to negotiate with Kiev, as long as Ukraine disarms, neutralizes, and drops its aspirations of membership in the NATO alliance.
On Thursday, Zelensky gave a televised address from a secure bunker. Describing himself as “target number one” of the Russian military, Zelensky said that his family was at an undisclosed location. His swapping of the presidential palace for the bunker sparked rumors that he had fled west to the city of Lvov, or out of the country entirely.
Russia's military offensive on Ukraine began early on Thursday following requests from the newly recognized Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics for aid under their mutual treaties with Moscow. The two claimed that they were facing an imminent all-out attack, though Kiev insisted it was not planning to retake the area by force. Putin said the military action was the only option left after Kiev abandoned the internationally-brokered Minsk agreements, which not only required it to observe a ceasefire, but also to give the Donbass region more autonomy.