Kiev, March 5: In a virtual address to thousands of protesters across major European cities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that if his country fell to Russia in the ongoing war, then the whole continent of Europe will fall. On Friday night, protests against the ongoing Russian military assault on Ukraine took place in Vienna, Tbilisi, Prague, Frankfurt, Vilnius, Lyon and Bratislava.
In his address via video link, Zelensky said: "Don't be silent. Go out onto the streets. Support Ukraine. Support our freedom. This would be a victory not only over Russian troops, it would be a victory of light over darkness. A victory of good over evil. A victory of freedom over what is happening now, here, on Ukrainian land. Russia-Ukraine War Live Updates: 14 Cargo Planes Carrying Military Aid Land Near Ukrainian Border; Samsung Suspends Product Shipment to Russia.
"Don't be silent, support Ukraine. Because if Ukraine falters, Europe will falter. If Ukraine falls, Europe will fall. "And if we win – and I have faith in our people, I have faith in you – it would be a big victory for democracy, for our values, a victory for freedom."
Earlier on Friday in another video message reportedly from his office in Kiev, the President condemned the NATO leaders for failing to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, the BBC reported.
"All the people who die, starting today, will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disconnection. "The NATO summit took place today. A weak summit. A confused summit. A summit that shows that not everyone considers the fight for freedom for Europe the number one goal.
"All the intelligence agencies of the NATO countries are well aware of the enemy's plans. They confirmed that Russia wants to continue the offensive. "NATO has deliberately decided not to close the skies over Ukraine. NATO countries created a narrative that closing the skies over Ukraine would provoke Russia's direct aggression against NATO.
"This is the self-hypnosis of those who are weak, insecure inside, despite the fact they possess weapons many times stronger than we have," the President added. As the conflict in Ukraine entered the ninth day on Friday, Aleksey Arestovich, an adviser to Zelensky, said that resistance by the Ukrainian armed forces as well as by the general public would "grind down the Russian war machine".
"The Russian army is not strong. It's just big," the BBC quoted Arestovich as saying in a Facebook post. "Our success is a pattern, with specifically built and clearly implemented cause-and-effect relationships... Eight-tenths of Putin's army is here. This is where we will bury them," he added.
Since Russia's invasion began on February 24, Ukrainian forces have continued with a stiff resistance against Moscow's advances. However, Russian troops on Friday captured the the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, where a fire had erupted earlier in the day due to shelling.
The previous day, the port city of Kherson was also seized by Russian forces, becoming the first city to fall. In the south, Russian forces captured areas along the Black Sea coast, and the port city of Mariupol remained surrounded. In Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, has also remained under seige.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 05, 2022 11:52 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).