Thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity amid concerns of a Russian invasion, as Ukraine’s president urged people not to panic and fought back against what he called a flood of doomsday war forecasts in the media.
Tensions have risen as Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops near Ukraine and conducted large-scale drills. The US warned on Friday that an invasion might begin at any time. Russia has denied any intention of invading.
Ukrainians marched in a column through Kyiv’s central district, screaming “Glory to Ukraine” and waving Ukrainian flags and banners that read “Ukrainians will resist” and “Invaders must die.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was attending police drills in the southern Kherson area, said a Russian invasion may come at any time, but he pushed back against what he saw as overwhelming volumes of information about a massive approaching battle.
“Panic in our country is our adversaries’ best buddy. And all of this knowledge only adds to our anxiety and does nothing to assist us “he stated “What hasn’t happened yet makes it impossible for me to agree or disapprove. There hasn’t been a full-scale war in Ukraine yet.”
“The best friend of our enemies is panic in our country. And all this information is just provoking panic and can’t help us,” he said. “I can’t agree or disagree with what hasn’t happened yet. So far, there is no full-scale war in Ukraine.”
The US and a number of Western nations have advised their people to flee Ukraine, and Washington said on Saturday that it has ordered the majority of its diplomatic workers in Kyiv to depart.
“We have to be ready each day. It did not begin yesterday. It began in 2014, so, we are ready and this is why we are here,” Zelensky said in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for an anti-Kyiv separatist movement in the east.
Valery Zaluzhny, the chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, and Oleksii Reznikov, the country’s defence minister, declared in a separate statement that the invader would not conquer Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, or any other Ukrainian city.
“We have strengthened the defence of Kyiv. We have gone through the war and due preparation. Therefore, we are ready to meet enemies and not with flowers, but with Stingers, Javelins and NLAW. Welcome to hell!”, Zaluzhny said, referring to an array of anti-rocket and anti-aircraft weapons received from the West.
Ukrainian intelligence and the army, according to the military, are in control of the situation on the borders, and Kyiv is coordinating its activities with partners. “Such a union of leading democracies has not existed for decades,” Zaluzhny and Reznikov said.
Last month, Zelenskiy indicated his unhappiness with war’s grim forecasts. Such warnings have had an impact on the economy, putting more pressure on the national currency.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will speak later on Saturday