ANKARA: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told EU leaders in a videoconference on Thursday night that “this might be the last time you see me alive,” according to the Axios news website.
The video call took place before the leaders of EU states decided on a new series of sanctions against Russia, the website said.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who also attended the videoconference, told the Stockholm-based TT news agency that when the EU leaders said goodbye to Zelenskyy they knew they might not see him again.
Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine entered its second day on Friday, with the latest reports indicating that Russian troops were heading toward the capital Kyiv from several directions.
Putin had ordered the military intervention on Thursday, just days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.
He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy the neighboring country, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.
Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to install a puppet government and said Ukrainians will defend their country against Russian aggression.
Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing nearly 150,000 troops on the border with Ukraine.
They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations consistently rejected by Moscow.– AA