Ukraine's president vows nation will oppose Russia to 'last man'

Ukraine's president vows nation will oppose Russia to 'last man'
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Ukraine's president on Tuesday warned that his country is ready for war should Russian military forces stationed along the border between the two countries launch an invasion into Ukrainian territory.

The New York Times reported that President Volodymyr Zelensky made the comments during a recorded address to Ukrainians on Tuesday evening while calling on Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinREAD: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Scarborough, Greenwald trade insults on Twitter over rise of Trump Congress may force Biden to stop Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline MORE to meet him for a peace summit in Donbass, a region where Ukraine's military has battled Russian-backed separatists for years.

“Does Ukraine want war? No. Is it ready for it? Yes,” Zelensky said, according to the Times, adding, “Our principle is simple: Ukraine does not start a war first, but Ukraine always stands to the last man.”


“It is impossible to bring peace on a tank,” he continued, before addressing Putin: “I am ready to invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass where there is war.”

The U.S. has moved at least two warships to the Black Sea amid rising tensions between the two countries, and top U.S. officials including Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBlinken speaks with Israeli counterpart amid escalating conflict Biden sent letter to Palestinian president over 'current situations' Asian American lawmakers say State's 'assignment restrictions' discriminate MORE have reaffirmed the Biden administration's support for Ukraine in recent days. It isn't clear whether the Biden administration would move to support Ukraine through military means should Russia invade, as Ukraine has applied for membership within NATO but is not yet a member of the defense pact.

“Secretary Blinken affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said last Tuesday.

“The Secretary expressed concern about Russia’s deliberate actions to escalate tensions with Ukraine, including through its aggressive rhetoric and disinformation, increasing ceasefire violations, and movement of troops in occupied Crimea and near Ukraine’s borders," Price added.

Russia has denied plans to start a military conflict with Ukraine, and at a press briefing last week a foreign ministry spokesperson accused western media of artificially raising tensions.

"The Ukrainian and Western media are blowing the issue of Russian military activity near the border with Ukraine out of proportion," said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.