Zelenskyy says Ukraine is not a threat to Russia
Ukraine’s president is rejecting Moscow’s claim that his country poses a threat to Russia and warns that a looming Russian invasion could cause tens of thousands of deaths.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the comments in a video address early Thursday. Speaking emotionally, he said: "The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we come under attack that threaten our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back."
Zelenskyy says he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday but the Kremlin remained silent.
Earlier, lawmakers in Ukraine approved a nationwide state of emergency amid fears of an all-out Russian invasion.
The parliament approved Zelenskyy’s decree that imposes the measure for 30 days starting Thursday. The state of emergency allows authorities to impose restrictions on movement, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations "in the interests of national security and public order."
Meanwhile, The White House says the request by Ukrainian separatists for Russian military assistance in the face of supposed "aggression" by Ukraine’s government is an example of the "false flag" operations the West has consistently warned against.
The U.S. and allies have alleged for weeks that Russia would try to create a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine through the use of such operations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the Kremlin’s announcement Wednesday that the separatists are seeking help "is an example" of such an operation.
Psaki adds that "we’ll continue to call out what we see as false flag operations or efforts to spread misinformation about what the actual status is on the ground."