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In appearances from presidential office in Kyiv, Zelensky says Russian forces are ‘all war criminals’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a tour of his presidential office in Kyiv in a video address posted to his Facebook page on March 7. (Video: Reuters)

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.”

Zelensky dangles hope for life after Russia’s invasion: Land ‘without tanks,’ sky ‘without rockets’

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.”

Talks between Russia and Ukraine yield little, with civilians still trapped in besieged cities

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.”

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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