Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Russian soldiers shelling Ukrainian cities, urging them to surrender in a video message posted on Telegram early Tuesday.
â€œOn behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance, a chance to survive,â€ Zelenskyy said, according to the translation provided with the video. â€œIf you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated, as people, decently. In a way you were not treated in your army. And in a way your army does not treat ours.â€
Zelenskyy said his countryâ€™s fighters continue to resist the invasion and have inflicted major damage on the Russian military.
â€œYouâ€™ve already understood everything,â€ Zelenskyy said. â€œYou will not take anything from Ukraine. You will take lives. There are a lot of you. But your life will also be taken. But why should you die? What for? I know you want to survive.â€
He added that Russian forces will face a further reckoning, for committing war crimes.
â€œResponsibility for war crimes of the Russian military is inevitable,â€ Zelenskyy warned. â€œResponsibility for a deliberate humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian cities is inevitable.â€
The United Nations continues calling for an end to the war, citing the human cost and the devastating impact on the global economy, especially on developing nations, due to rising prices of food and energy.
â€œAll of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,â€ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Monday.
Zelenskyy also pleaded with ordinary Russians to continue to resist Russian President Vladimir Putinâ€™s misinformation campaign. State-run media in Russia have been using the term â€œspecial military operationâ€ instead of â€œwarâ€ to describe the fighting and falsely say Ukraine is led by neo-Nazis, according to the BBC.
Zelenskyy made a special mention of Marina Ovsyannikov, the news editor who stormed the set of the Channel One newscast with a poster reading, â€œStop the war. Donâ€™t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you,â€ in Russian.
â€œAs long as your country has not completely closed itself off from the whole world, turning into a very large North Korea, you must fight,â€ Zelenskyy said. â€œYou must not lose your chance.â€
The prime ministers of three European Union and NATO member countries â€” Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia â€” are traveling to Kyiv on Tuesday as Russian soldiers edge closer to the capital.
â€œEurope must guarantee Ukraineâ€™s independence and ensure that it is ready to help in Ukraineâ€™s reconstruction,â€ Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Zelenskyy will give a virtual speech to Congress on Wednesday.
Last week, Congress passed a spending bill with bipartisan support, including $13.6 billion for military and humanitarian support to Ukraine and regional allies.