Striking a despondent note, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday said that his country has been left alone to fend-off the Russian invasion which President Putin announced in a television address on Thursday morning (IST) that has shaken the world.
“We have been left alone to defend our state. Who is ready to fight alongside up? I don’t see anymore. Who is ready to give guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid,” President Zelensky said.
The first day of the invasion has claimed (officially) 130 Ukrainian lives and injured more than 300 people.
President Zelensky added that he along with his family have remained in Ukraine even as Russia has identified him as a top target.
“(Russia) has marked me down as the number one target… My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state… I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine,” President Zelensky said in a video message.
The US President Joe Biden on Thursday severely criticized Russian President Putin for an “Unjustifiable war” against Ukraine. However, he clearly said that the US/NATO will not be engaging troops in Ukraine. “Our forces are not, and will not be, engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our Nato allies and reassure those allies in the east…” President Biden said.
Biden also added that Putin has ambitions to establish the former Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, NATO has decided to reinforce its troop strength on its eastern flank but will not be deploying troops inside Ukraine.
“(NATO has) no intention of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine… We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action, withdraw its forces from Ukraine, and choose diplomacy,” the union’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
“We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the alliance, as well as additional maritime assets… We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies,” NATO ambassadors said in a statement after an emergency meeting.