The President of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelensky, addressed the Russian people this Thursday and asked to avoid armed conflict: “The Ukrainian people want peace”.
The probability of a war with Ukraine “depends on you”, has insisted in a 10-minute speech published on Telegram. According to Zelensky, “a great war in Europe” could start soon.
The statements have come after the two separatist leaders of the regions Donetsk and Lugansk, in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, request by the end of this Wednesday help the russian presidentVladimir Putin, to “repel aggression” of the Ukrainian army.
Likewise, the president has assured that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has refused to hold a telephone conversation about the crisis at the border.
“Today I have started a telephone conversation with the President of the Russian Federation. The result was silence“, he said. “Although there should be silence in Donbas,” he added.
In his address to the nation, Zelensky spoke about the impact of the Russian aggression on Ukraine: “The whole world is talking about what can happen from day to day. It can happen at any time. Any provocation. Any outbreak. A flash that can burn everything.”
Thus, he has once again distanced himself from a possible attack by Ukraine in the Donbas region and has referred to Russian citizens in the second person plural. “They were told that he would order him to attack Donbas, shoot and bomb without hesitation. Although the questions are very simple: Shoot who? What bomb?”, he has declared.
Ukraine, a threat to Russia
According to the Ukrainian leader, the Russians “They have been told that Ukraine may pose a threat to Russia”but it has not been so in the past, “it is not now and it will not be in the future”.
“You demand security guarantees from NATO. And we demand guarantees of our security from you and from other guarantors of the Budapest Memorandum,” he added.
Zelensky therefore referred to the security of the whole of Europe, and, in particular, to security in Ukraine: “Our main objective is peace in Ukraine and the security of our citizens. For this, we are prepared to talk with everyone, including you, in different formats and places”.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Parliament has approved this Wednesday a declaration of the state of emergency throughout Ukraineexcept in two eastern regions, where it has been in force since 2014.
The US warns that Russia is prepared for the invasion
A senior US defense official has anticipated that the Russian president “has assembled almost 100% of the forces that the US believed it would make available” for the invasion of Ukraine, of which 80% would be on combat alert.
For his part, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, told NBCnews that he expects Russia to invade Ukraine before the night is out, but still sees the possibility of “avoiding further aggression”.
“Everything seems to be in place for Russia to engage in major aggression against Ukraine,” he said.
Russia has closed part of the airspace in the Rostov flight information regioneast of its border with Ukraine, “to ensure the safety” of civil aviation flights, according to a notice to airmen.
The United States, Italy, Canada, France and Britain have advised their airlines to avoid certain airspace over eastern Ukraine and Crimea, but have so far stopped short of an outright ban.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.