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‘We will defend our land,’ Zelensky vows from central Kyiv

Top advisor to Ukrainian president says military successfully holding off Russian assaults; apartment block in capital hit by Russian shelling

In this screenshot from a video posted Saturday morning, February 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainians will fight for their land, as Russian troops were said to be closing in on the capital, Kyiv. (Screenshot/Twitter)
In this screenshot from a video posted Saturday morning, February 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainians will fight for their land, as Russian troops were said to be closing in on the capital, Kyiv. (Screenshot/Twitter)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a renewed assurance Saturday that the country’s military will stand up to the Russian invasion.

In a self-shot video recorded on the street in downtown Kyiv, Zelensky said that he hasn’t left the city and dispelled claims that Ukraine’s military would lay down its weapons.

“There is a lot of fake information on the networks that I am calling on our army to surrender and that there is an evacuation, but I am here. We will not lay down our weapons. We will fight for our land.”

“Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of that,” said Zelensky who captioned the video with “Do not believe the fakes.”

In another tweet, the Ukrainian president says he spoke with his French counterpart, Emmanual Macron, and that weapons and equipment were on the way to the embattled country, under attack by Russia.

“A new day on the diplomatic frontline began with a conversation with @EmmanuelMacron. Weapons and equipment from our partners are on the way to Ukraine. The anti-war coalition is working!” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

An adviser to Zelensky said Saturday that fighting is raging in the capital and in the country’s south, and that the Ukrainian military is successfully fending off Russian assaults.

Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Saturday that small groups of Russian forces tried to infiltrate Kyiv and engaged in fighting with Ukrainian troops.

He said that Russia wants to seize control of the Ukrainian capital and destroy the country’s leadership, but said the Russian military has failed to make any gains and that the Ukrainian forces control the situation in Kyiv.

He said Russian forces were also focusing on the country’s south, where intense fighting is underway in Kherson just north of Crimea, and in the Black Sea ports of Mykolaiv, Odesa and around Mariupol.

He said that Russia considers it a priority to seize the south, but it has failed to make any significant gains.

“Ukraine hasn’t simply withstood it. Ukraine is winning,” Podolyak said at a briefing.

Ukrainian emergency services said Saturday that a high-rise apartment block was hit by shelling overnight in Kyiv as fighting raged between Russian troops and Ukrainian forces.

The authorities said the number of victims was “being specified” and that an evacuation was underway. They posted a picture online of the tower block with a hole covering at least five floors blasted into the side and rubble strewn across the street below.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said online that the building had been hit by a missile.

In a previous video shot on Friday from Kyiv, Zelensky said he and key aides would stay and defend the capital against the Russian invasion.

“We’re all here. Our military is here. Citizens in society are here. We’re all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way,” Zelensky said, standing outside the presidency building.

Wearing olive green military-style clothing and standing with his prime minister, chief of staff and other senior aides, Zelensky appeared to be responding to pressure from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

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