Ukrainian President : ” If the Russian forces decide to destroy us all, they will live on this land alone .”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russian forces that they would face a fight to the death if they tried to occupy the capital, Kyiv, as the city’s residents awoke again to the sound of sirens on Sunday morning.

“If they decide to bomb (Kyiv) and simply erase the history of this region…and destroy us all, only then will they enter Kyiv. If that is their goal, let them enter, but they will have to live on this land alone,” Zelensky said.

The president, who has appeared repeatedly on social media from the capital, said some small towns had ceased to exist in the third week of Russian attacks, the largest on a European country since World War Two.

Thousands are stranded in besieged cities by the Russian bombing that has forced 2.5 million Ukrainians to flee to neighboring countries.

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Saturday of killing seven civilians in an attack on women and children trying to escape the fighting near Kyiv. France said Russian President Vladimir Putin had proven he was not ready to make peace.

The Ukrainian intelligence service said that seven people, including a child, were killed while trying to escape from the village of Primoha, and that “the occupiers forced the rest of the convoy to return to the village.”

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the authenticity of the report, and Russia did not provide any comment so far. Russia has denied targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on February 24, and Kyiv has blamed the failure of evacuating civilians from besieged cities, an accusation that Ukraine and its Western allies vehemently reject.

Zelensky said that Moscow is sending new forces after Ukrainian forces managed to damage 31 Russian tactical battalions, in what he described as the largest losses suffered by the Russian army in decades. It was not possible to verify the authenticity of these statements.

“We still need to hold out. We still have to fight,” Zelensky added in a video.

He said some 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed so far and urged the West to get more involved in peace negotiations.

The United States said it would send $200 million in additional small arms, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, after Ukrainian officials appealed for more military aid.

The Kremlin describes its moves as a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and remove leaders it describes as neo-Nazis. Ukraine and its Western allies describe this as a baseless excuse to launch a war that has raised fears of a broader conflict in Europe.

Zelensky discussed the war with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged Putin to immediately order a ceasefire.

In a statement issued by the Kremlin, commenting on the 75-minute call, there was no mention of a ceasefire, and a French presidential official said, “We did not see a desire on Putin’s part to end the war.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused the United States of escalating tension, and said the situation was further complicated by Western arms convoys to Ukraine, which Russian forces consider “legitimate targets.”

In the comments, carried by the TASS news agency, Ryabkov made no specific threat, but any attack on these shipments before they reach Ukraine would risk widening the war.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying that crisis talks between Moscow and Kiev on the conflict in Ukraine continued via video link. Peskov did not provide details, but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would not give in or accept dictates.

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