Conflicts & War

Zelenskyy appeals to EU as Russian invasion escalates

(update: adds Zelenskyy, EU speeches)

Kyiv, Mar 1 (EFE).- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed an emotional European Parliament on Tuesday, delivering a speech via video link in which he urged the EU to continue supporting his country in the face of Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskyy, who repeated his urgent request for Ukraine to join the EU, received a standing ovation from the chamber in Brussels.

He said Ukrainians were dying every day in Russian bombardments, their lives “being sacrificed for values, rights, freedom and equality that you (the EU) benefit from.”

“The EU will be much stronger with us,” he continued. “We have shown our strength and that we are equals. You can prove to us that you are by our side, that you will not give up on us.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc had reacted “at the speed of light” to impose its toughest sanctions ever on Moscow, and had taken the unprecedented step of directly supplying Ukraine with weapons, as the continent faces what she called “Europe’s moment of truth.”

It is a conflict between “the rule of law and the rule of the gun,” she said.

European Council president, Charles Michel, said Moscow’s actions amounted to “geopolitical terrorism, pure and simple,” denouncing Russian president Vladimir Putin for the “despicable lies” that had led to the “brutal” invasion.

The international condemnation continued at a United Nations human rights council in Geneva, where Western diplomats and allies walked out of the room during a pre-recorded speech by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov defending Moscow’s actions.

The plenary session was held as the fighting in Ukraine continued to escalate.

A huge Russian military convoy was inching closer to Kyiv Tuesday as day six of Moscow’s invasion continued with the shelling of a northeastern military base that killed dozens of Ukrainian soldiers, and a missile strike hit the center of Kharkiv.

The latest photos of Moscow’s armored convoy descending on Ukraine’s capital shows it is larger than initially thought.

According to new satellite images from Maxar Technologies, the convoy northwest of Kyiv stretches from near Antonov air base, about 30 kilometers from the center of the capital, for 64 kilometers (40 miles) and consists of armored vehicles, tanks, artillery and other vehicles.

Images taken earlier Monday gave the impression the vehicles stretched around 27km.

Kyiv has fended off a Russian takeover for five days, while residents have been preparing molotov cocktails.

Russian officials warned Kyiv residents on Tuesday afternoon that they were preparing “high-precision strikes” targeting Ukraine’s Security Service and main PsyOps center, urging them to leave their homes.

In the northeast city of Okhtyrka, more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers, as well as civilians, were killed in Russian shelling of a military base, the head of the Sumy Regional Military Administration, Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, wrote on Facebook.

He added that since the early hours of Tuesday, the situation in the north of the region was more or less stable, but Konotop and Lebedyn, also in Sumy region, were besieged.

Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv was under attack again on Tuesday morning, with a missile hitting a local government building.

Videos posted to social media of the aftermath showed blown-out windows, debris and charred vehicles.

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