Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said goodbye to European leaders Thursday during a video chat — telling them that “this might be the last time you see me alive”.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said goodbye to European leaders Thursday during a video chat — telling them that “this might be the last time you see me alive”, according to reports.
The 44-year-old leader made the chilling warning in a video call with EU leaders Thursday, sources told Axios and the Financial Times just before he publicly stated he was Russia’s “target number one”, the NY Post reports.
One of those on the call, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, also told the TT news agency that the EU leaders knew when they said goodbye that they might not see him again.
Mr Zelensky, who appeared to address the other leaders from a bunker, vowed to remain in Kyiv even as it came under siege — and as he conceded that the Russians “want to destroy Ukraine politically by taking down the head of state”.
“The enemy has designated me as target number one, and my family as target number two,” he said of wife Olena Zelenska, their son, Kiril, and daughter, Aleksandra.
Despite his reported warning, Mr Zelensky made a defiant video hours later Friday, appearing with four key cabinet members in the darkened streets of Kyiv.
“We’re in here. We are in Kyiv. We defend Ukraine,” he said.
He had earlier also posted an indoor video shaming European leaders as well as the US for its lack of assistance.
“This morning, we are defending our country alone,” the President said of the “second morning of the all-out war”, according to a translation by CNN.
“Just like yesterday, the most powerful country in the world looked on from a distance,” he said in a clear nod to President Joe Biden’s administration.
Mr Zelensky directly likened the assault on his nation — which focused on the capital, Kyiv, on Friday — to “what Europe already witnessed during World War II”.
“Europe said, ‘Never again’, but here we are,” he said, warning that Russia’s invasion was “the beginning of the war against Europe”.
Accusing European nations of being in “no hurry” to help, he urged people to “demand from your governments more financial, more military assistance to Ukraine”.
“How are you going to help yourself, when you help us so slowly in Ukraine?” he asked.
He even encouraged any Europeans with “combat experience” to ignore the “indecision of politicians” and “come to our country and join us in defending Europe”.
He insisted that “Europe has enough strength to stop this aggression”, noting a slew of measures not yet used.
“Visa cancellations for Russians, cutting them from SWIFT, a total isolation of Russia, recalling ambassadors, embargo on petroleum, imposing a no-fly zone, this must be in the table,” he said.
Mr Zelensky did, however, praise Sweden for giving “military, technical and humanitarian assistance”, saying they were “building an anti-Putin coalition together!”
This article originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission