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President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation amid Russia’s call to deploy its troops to the occupied territories of Donbas for “peacekeeping” operations.
Zelensky said Ukraine requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council and added that the OSCE’s monitoring mission in Ukraine must continue its work to prevent provocations and further escalation.
Zelensky also initiated an urgent meeting of the Normandy Format countries – Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia.
“It is very important now to see who is our real friend and partner, and who will continue ‘scaring’ the Russian Federation with words,” Zelensky said.
He added that the country’s borders are well-protected and that Ukraine reserves the right to defend itself from further Russian aggression.
“We are on our land. We don’t fear anything or anyone. We don’t owe anything to anyone. And we won’t give anything up.”
Earlier on Feb. 21, Zelensky summoned the National Security and Defense Council meeting following the Kremlin’s recognition of the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Donbas as independent states.
Shortly after, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of Russian troops to Donbas to perform “peacekeeping” operations and added that Russia is planning to sign a cooperation agreement with the Russian proxies in Donbas.
After Russia’s announcement, the White House released a statement saying it will impose a ban on investment and trade with the Russia-occupied territories while specifying that another big package of “severe” sanctions is underway.
Prior to his address, Zelensky had urgent calls with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, U.S. President Joe Biden, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said Russia’s legal actions were “a flagrant violation of the international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the U.K. will announce new sanctions against Russia on Feb. 22.