One last attempt by DRAMATIC to avert war between Russia and Ukraine was rejected by Vladimir Putin, who fears conflict is now inevitable.
Zelenskyy was speaking as Russia appeared ready to invade his country, with 200,000 Russian troops on the border and about 10,000 “peacekeeping” forces already inside the two pro-Russian breakaway provinces.
Speaking in a video posted on his official Facebook account, Zelenskyy stated that “Ukrainian people want peace”, adding that his government is “doing everything to build it”.
He accused the President Putin approved an invasion and addressed the Russian people in Russian: “Any spark can burn everything.
“You are told that this fire will free the Ukrainian people, but the Ukrainian people are free.”
He said he tried to call Putin but “the result was silence”.
Mr Zelenskyy said the Russian leadership had “approved” their troops to enter his country illegally, adding: “This step could become the start of a major war in continental Europe.”
With tensions between Kyiv and Moscow at their worst in eight years, Zelensky said any Russian aggression “must stop before it’s too late”.
Addressing the Russian people again, he said whether war will happen or not “depends only on you – the citizens of the Russian Federation”.
On Thursday morning, Russia issued a notice to close air routes along its 2,000-kilometer border with Ukraine, in another major act of provocation.
Russia has issued a NOTAM (notification for pilots or notice for air missions) covering a corridor of territory where hundreds of thousands of Russian troops have gathered over the past few weeks.
The measures will be in place until May 18.
In his speech, Zelenskyy also rejected claims from Putin and hardline Russian nationalists that Ukraine was historically part of Russia.
“Neighbors have always enriched each other culturally, but that doesn’t make them one, doesn’t dissolve us in you,” he said.
“We are different. But that’s not a reason to be enemies. We want to define our own history. In peace, calm and honesty.”
Any spark can burn everything
It comes as one of the top US diplomats warned that an all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine would trigger one of the biggest refugee crises in the world, costing 5 million people to evacuate.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that three million Ukrainians – half of whom are children or the elderly – already need food, shelter and support emergency aid.
“The waves this war will cause are unimaginable,” she continued.
On Wednesday, US military commanders announced that Russia would begin Completely invade Ukraine in the next 48 hours.
Top Pentagon spokesman John F Kirby told reporters an invasion was imminent and said Russian troops and separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk were in combat-ready positions.
“They’re ready to go,” he said. “They can attack at any time, with a substantial military force.”
Kyiv has been placed under a state of emergency, with the rest of the country to follow on Thursday.
Pro-Kremlin rebels have begged Putin to help them fight the Ukrainian armyin another terrifying escalation of hostilities.
Rebel militias say they risk a “genocide” in eastern Ukraine if Russia does not provide military support, in a move seen by many Western governments as a “false flag” and an act of aggression. direct provocation to war.
In a speech, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the breakaway republics – recognized by Russia in the face of global outcry on Monday- requested protection.
“As the invasion of Ukraine’s armed forces continues, civil and industrial infrastructure, schools, hospitals, kindergartens are being destroyed in the republics,” he said.
“The actions of the Kyiv regime show that they do not want to end the war in Donbas.
“Kyiv continues to strengthen its military presence on the lines of communication, receiving comprehensive support, including military support, from the US and other Western countries.”
He added that the Russian military is operating “with the aim of preventing victimization among peaceful residents and a humanitarian disaster”.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4758863/russia-ukraine-news-invasion-war-no-fly-zone/ Putin DEPENDS Ukraine’s final call for peace and no-fly zone, as fears grow over ‘5 million’ refugee crisis