Russia has designs to capture other countries after Ukraine, says Zelensky

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday (April 23) said that Russia has designs to capture other countries.

In a video address, he said, ”Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning.”

“All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next?”

It comes after a Russian general warned that Moscow will not stop its ”special military operation” till it gains complete control over southern Ukraine.

According to Major General Rustam Minnekaev, “One of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over the Donbas and southern Ukraine.” 

Minnekaev is the deputy commander of Russia’s central military district. He believes that control over Souther Ukraine will give Russia access to Transnistria.

Transnistria is a Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west and control over it could cut off Ukraine’s entire coastline.

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Earlier, President of the European Council Charles Michel appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for humanitarian access to Mariupol.

Michel tweeted, “Strongly urged for immediate humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities all the more on the occasion of Orthodox Easter.”

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In response, Putin said, “All servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces, militants of the national battalions, and foreign mercenaries who laid down their arms are guaranteed life.” 

“But the Kyiv regime is not allowing for this opportunity to be used,” he added.

Governor of Ukraine’s eastern region Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko told AFP, “The enemy’s offensive operation in the south hinges on Mariupol. The enemy is trying to focus all its efforts on it.”

Both Zelensky and Putin will meet United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres next week.

“He hopes to talk about what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently,” said UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko.

(With inputs from agencies)

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