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Ukraine’s Zelensky in plea to Europe: ‘If we fall, you will fall’

The war-torn nation’s leader also rails at NATO for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country: ‘All the people who die starting today will also die because of you’

Demonstrators watch an address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the big screen during a rally in support of Ukraine in Tbilisi, on March 4, 2022. (Vano Shlamov/AFP)
Demonstrators watch an address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the big screen during a rally in support of Ukraine in Tbilisi, on March 4, 2022. (Vano Shlamov/AFP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on European nations Friday to support his country’s fight against the invading Russian military.

Zelensky appeared on video as he addressed thousands of people protesting the war in several European cities, naming among them Paris, Prague, Lyon, Frankfurt, and others. He asked the big crowds not to be silent about what was going on in his country.

“Don’t turn a blind eye on this,” he said. “Come out and support Ukraine as much as you can,” he said through a translator.

“If we fall, you will fall,” he said.

“And if we win, and I’m sure we’ll win, this will be the victory of the whole democratic world, this will be the victory of our freedom, this will be the victory of light over darkness, of freedom over slavery. And if we win we will become as blossoming as Europe. And Europe will be flourishing more than ever,” he said.

“All of you are Ukrainians today, thank you for this.”

Separately, Zelensky lashed NATO on Friday for ruling out a no-fly zone over his country saying the Western military alliance knew further Russian aggression was likely.

Earlier Friday, NATO rejected Ukraine’s request to impose a no-fly zone to halt Russia’s bombing, but Western allies did warn President Vladimir Putin of fresh sanctions if he does not stop the war.

“Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a video published by the presidency.

“We believe that the NATO countries themselves have created a narrative that the closing of the skies over Ukraine would provoke direct Russian aggression against NATO.”

Demonstrators hold their phones and watch an address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the big screen during a rally in support of Ukraine in Tbilisi, on March 4, 2022. (Vano Shlamov/AFP)

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had said the alliance would not intervene in the conflict over fears of a direct clash with Moscow that could spiral into a wider conflict.

“The only way to implement a no-fly zone is to send NATO fighter planes into Ukraine’s airspace, and then impose that no-fly zone by shooting down Russian planes,” Stoltenberg said after the urgent meeting.

“If we did that, we’ll end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe, involving many more countries and causing much more human suffering.”

But Zelensky insisted that the NATO gathering was a “weak summit, a confused summit.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Kyiv, on March 3, 2022. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)

“All the people who die starting today will also die because of you. Because of your weakness, because of your disconnection,” he said. “Today the leadership of the alliance gave the green light for further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, refusing to make a no-fly zone.”

Zelensky, leading his country’s battle against the Russian invasion, will address the US Senate on Saturday, a US legislative aide said.

Zelensky will speak to senators via Zoom in the morning Washington time at the request of Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, some US lawmakers are urging President Joe Biden to take a tougher stance against Russia, such as by suspending imports of its oil.

The White House has ruled this out so far, fearing it might cause rising oil prices to go up even more and hurt US consumers stung by record inflation.

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