Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has released two consecutive self-shot videos from Kyiv vowing to defend the capital against the Russian invasion on the ground.
In the first video released on Friday, Zelensky was seen alongside key aides in central Kyiv.
“Good evening to you all. The head of the government is here. The head of the president’s office is here. Prime Minister Shmyhal is here. Adviser Podoliak is here. The President is here. We’re all here. Our soldiers are here. Our citizens are here. We are all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay that way. Glory to the men and women defending us. Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes,” Zelensky says in a video shared by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.Wearing olive green military-style clothing, he was seen on the streets shooting the video with his advisers and top officials.
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) February 25, 2022
In another video released today, Zelensky dismissed claims that he had fled Kyiv or surrendered and reasserted that they will defend Ukraine.
"I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth," he declared in the video, news agency AFP reported."A lot of fake information has appeared on the internet saying that I allegedly called on our army to lay down its arms and that evacuation is underway," he said outside his office.
— (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
Zelensky is a former actor and comedian who has been serving as the president of Ukraine since 2019. In a televised address from Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin branded Zelensky's government "terrorists" and "a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis", urging the Ukrainian military to mutiny. Zelensky is Jewish.