Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remained defiant on Monday in a pair of videos recorded at the leader’s Kyiv office — the first time he has publicly appeared there since the Russian invasion began — where he declared that his outgunned army “will endure” and said everyone involved in the Kremlin’s assault should be considered a war criminal.
In a video address posted to his Facebook page, Zelensky gave Ukrainians — who have relied on his nightly posts for updates and morale boosts — a tour of the presidential office and a view from the window.
“I’m not hiding,” he said. “And I’m not afraid of anyone.”
Hours later, ABC News aired a prerecorded interview between Zelensky and journalist David Muir in which the Ukrainian president addressed reports that Russia has intentionally targeted civilians. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said such actions would constitute a war crime.
“I think that all people who came to our land, all people who gave those orders, all soldiers who were shooting, they’re all war criminals,” Zelensky said.
Asked whether he believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been targeting unarmed women, children and others, Zelensky replied: “Why would I care? The result is the same. People are dying.”
Schools have been bombed, he said — kindergartens as well as universities. He also spoke of the panic last week at a nuclear power plant, where a projectile started a fire. The shelling, he said, has escalated.
“We are being bombarded not only in the city of Kyiv, not only in the housing sectors, but also in the suburbs of Kyiv,” he said. “You can’t even recognize the way our capital looks right now.”
Zelensky acknowledged that his fighters faced long odds.
“The problem is that for one soldier of Ukraine, we have 10 Russian soldiers, and for every one Ukrainian tank, we have 50 Russian tanks,” he said, before adding: “We will endure. Even if they come into all of our cities, there will be insurgencies.”
Zelensky defended his calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine and appealed for further U.S. support, particularly in providing his military with more fighter jets. He pitched the conflict as pivotal in deciding the battle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism.
“When the limits of rights and freedoms are being violated and stepped on,” he said, “then you have to protect us because we will come first and you will come second.”