- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation at 2 am Tuesday morning.
- The speech came after Russia recognized breakaway territories in Ukraine and ordered in troops.
- Zelensky said “we are not afraid of anything and anyone” and will not concede anything.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed his nation early Tuesday morning after Russia ordered troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, warning that the country is “not afraid” and “will not concede anything to anyone.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Monday formally recognizing two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, as independent states and guaranteeing Russian support to the two regions, which are controlled in part by Kremlin-backed pro -Russian separatists but are still seen by the international community as Ukrainian territory.
And then hours later, Putin ordered troops into these regions on a so-called “peacekeeping” mission.
Zelensky said in a televised address at 2 am Tuesday morning local time that Russia’s actions are a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, according to The Kyiv Independent. He added that Russia is merely legalizing the Russian forces that have been in the Donbas since 2014, when Russia invaded and later annexed Crimea. Russia has denied having any military presence in the country.
Ukrainian forces have been battling the Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine for eight years. When Putin spoke Monday, he demanded an immediate cessation of hostilitieswarning that “all responsibility for the possible continuation of bloodshed will be completely and entirely on their conscience.”
Some expert observers viewed Putin’s remarks and actions as the first steps of a much larger Russian military operation.
Not only has Russia ordered military personnel into eastern Ukraine, but it has also surrounded Ukraine militarily, with more than 150,000 Russian troops, as well as a significant amount of military hardware, positioned near the Ukrainian border.
The Ukrainian president emphasized in his address that his country is not scared of Russia.
—Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 22, 2022
“We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything and anyone, we don’t owe anything to anyone, we will not concede anything to anyone,” Zelensky said in his early morning address.
He also warned that Ukraine is not the same as it was in 2014, suggesting that the military is tougher and more capable. “It’s not February 2014 but February 2022,” he said. “It’s a different country. There’s a different army. There’s a single goal: peace.”
Experts previously told Insider that while the Ukrainian military could inflict damage on Russian forces, it is unlikely they would be able to withstand a full-scale attack.
In his address, Zelensky said Ukraine expects support from its international partners, some of which have been the target of Ukrainian frustration in recent days. “It is very important to see who is our real friend and partner and who will continue to scare the Russian Federation with words,” the president said.