Ukraine says Russian attack plan ‘derailed’, capital Kyiv still under control

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday Ukrainian force had halted the Kremlin’s push to capture and oust Kiev and urged the Russians to pressure leader Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion. Speaking in a new video address, Zelensky accused Moscow of seeking to overthrow him and establish a puppet state in Ukraine.

“We derailed their plan,” the 44-year-old leader said, pointing out that the Ukrainian army controlled the capital Kiev and the main towns around it. Zelensky said the Russians deployed “missiles, fighters, drones, artillery, armored vehicles, saboteurs and airborne forces” against Ukraine and struck “residential areas”.

Zelensky said Ukrainians were fighting Russian troops in a number of cities, including the southern city of Odessa, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the capital Kiev. The western city of Lviv and other towns in western and central Ukraine were targeted by airstrikes, he said.

Ukraine, Zelensky said, has “already” won the right to join the European Union and urged EU leaders to make that decision.

“It will be key proof of our country’s support,” he said.

Zelensky also urged Germany and Hungary to support Russia’s separation from the SWIFT banking system to punish Moscow for invading his country.

“There is already almost full support from EU countries to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. I hope Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine’s president – a former comedian who came to power in 2019 – also thanked Russians who spoke out against the war and asked them to keep the pressure on the Kremlin.

“Just stop those who lie to you, lie to us, lie to the whole world,” he said.

“Thousands of victims. Hundreds of those who were taken prisoner,” he added.

“The sooner you tell your government that the war must end immediately, the longer your people will survive.”

On Thursday, Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that killed 198 civilians, including three children, according to Kiev and raised fears of greater conflict in Europe.

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