Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday morning that his country’s defense forces, vastly outnumbered, had held their lines against the Russian invasion through another night of punitive airstrikes.
“They wanted to destroy us so many times. They couldn’t. We went through so much! know nothing aboutand he has no business in Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his final video message. “We have nothing to lose but our own freedom.”
Zelensky said his country was receiving more weapons and other supplies from its international allies daily. The Biden administration, while unwilling to send US troops or planes to directly aid non-NATO Ukraine, provides much of the country’s weaponry. A US official confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday that 200 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were among the items delivered to Ukraine, with hundreds more on the way, all part of a set of 350 million dollars in military support.
But the United States and NATO refused to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as requested by Ukrainian leaders, judging the prospect of a direct fire between NATO and Russian planes too risky. Ukraine must therefore endure Russia’s devastating air assault, and with a second round of direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations expected this week, the US ambassador to the UN warned on Wednesday that Russia seemed “prepared to increase the brutality of his campaign”.
Already more than a million people have fled the country. The UN human rights office says 227 civilians were killed and 525 others injured. Ukrainian officials put the civilian death toll at more than 2,000, including 21 children. Russia has confirmed military casualties, saying nearly 500 of its soldiers died, but Zelensky says Putin’s forces lost more than 9,000. Ukraine did not reveal its own military casualty figures.