Friday morning, as Russian forces drew closer to the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier that Kyiv has been subjected to “horrific Russian rocket strikes.” Fox News says that Russian troops have “descended on Kyiv,” and officials are still saying that Kyiv could be taken over the weekend.
Shots were fired at a train station in Kyiv; witnesses say they were warning shots to prevent a stampede as citizens attempted to board trains leaving the area. Hundreds stood on the loading platform area; most were women and children leaving their husbands behind as Russian forces closed in on the capital city. Fox News is reporting that store shelves are empty in Kyiv; it is believed that people stocked up prior to either leaving the Ukraine or hunkering down in their homes. The Ukrainians say they are prepared for war, and Ukrainian men are picking up some 1,800 military rifles in an effort to help defend their country.
Fox News is reporting that United States President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy spoke via phone Friday; however, the details of that call have not been made public.
President Zelenskyy has continued to post videos from an undisclosed location, defiantly remaining in the country although his life has been threatened. Military experts have said that taking Zelenskyy out of power is a major goal of the Russian troops; Zelenskyy said himself on Thursday that he is considered “Enemy Number One.”
In a video chat with the leaders of the European Union on Thursday, Zelenskyy told European leaders “this may be the last time you see me alive.” Zelenskyy, a young leader at only 44 years of age, was elected in 2019. Prior to that time, Volodymyr Zelenskyy had been a comedian and actor. The plot line of his hit television show became a real-life story when the actor was elected to the office of the presidency (in the show, a former teacher is elected president when a viral video captures him ranting about the corruption of the Ukrainian president; Zelenskyy played the role of the teacher turned president).
Zelenskyy’s bravery is an inspiration to his people. He has vowed to stay in the Ukraine and support his countrymen. Zelenskyy admitted via video, which appeared to show the Ukrainian president in a bunker, that Moscow “wants to destroy Ukraine politically by taking down the head of state.”
Zelenskyy has also reprimanded the leaders of the European Union and the United States for what he sees as a lack of assistance from Western allies.
Zelenskyy told those present, “This morning, we are defending our country alone the second morning of an all-out war.” He added, “Just like yesterday, the most powerful country in the world looked on from a distance,” which is thought to be a clear message to President Joe Biden.
Zelenskyy compared the invasion into the Ukraine with the beginning of World War II, calling the attack “what Europe already witnessed during World War II. Europe said, ‘Never again,’ but here we are; (Zelenskyy called the invasion) the beginning of the war against Europe.”
Zelenskyy then spoke to the people of Europe: “Demand from your governments more financial, more military assistance to Ukraine.” He finished by inviting any Europeans with combat experience to come and assist the Ukrainians in defending the country against Russia.
Many Americans are curious as to why President Joe Biden’s latest round of sanctions did not include expelling Russia from SWIFT, a international banking intermediary. Zelenskyy himself suggested “cutting (Russia) off from SWIFT” during his video chat with members of the EU. Disallowing Russia to utilize SWIFT would cause a near-fatal blow to the economy of Russia, but President Biden says the sanctions already proposed are more detrimental to the Russian economy than cutting the country from SWIFT.
As night began to descend on Kyiv, Russian troops continue to attack the city, at least on the outskirts of town.