Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech Thursday that Ukraine has been “left alone” to defend against the Russian invasion that began less than 24 hours earlier.
“Today Russia attacked the entire territory of our state,” Zelensky said. “And today our defenders have done a lot.”
“They defended almost the entire territory of Ukraine,” he continued. “Which suffered direct blows. They regain the one that the enemy managed to occupy.”
Zelensky said of the Ukrainian people that “we are supported,” citing conversations he had with world leaders after the invasion.
However, he added that Ukraine is “left alone in defense of our state.”
“Who is ready to fight with us?” Zelensky asked. “Honestly — I do not see such.”
“I ask them,” Zelensky said of Ukraine’s allies on Thursday. “Are you with us? They answer that they are with us. But they are not ready to take us to the alliance,” referring to NATO.
He continued: “Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer.”
Zelensky also addressed rumors that he and his family had left the Ukrainian capital.
“I know that a lot of fakes are being produced now,” he said. “In particular, that I allegedly left Kyiv. I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital.”
“My family is also in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine.”
Most of Zelensky’s speech honored the hundreds of soldiers that were wounded or killed by Russian forces during the day. At the time of the speech, he said 137 Ukrainians had died, 10 of whom were officers, and 316 were wounded.
“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically,” Zelensky said. “But did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.”
Zelensky concluded: “Now the fate of the country depends entirely on our army, on our heroes, our security forces, all our defenders. And on our people, your wisdom and the great support of all friends of our country. Glory to Ukraine!”