Live updates on Russia-Ukraine war: Ukrainian forces hold Kiev, slow Russian advance

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In a message intended to increase strength and solidarity in the face of the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy on Saturday commended his fellow citizens for their willingness to defend their nation and vowed to “fight as long as it takes to liberate the country.” .

“The world has seen that Ukrainians are powerful. Ukrainians are brave. Ukrainians are in their homeland and will never give it up,” Zelenskyy said in a video shared via messaging app Telegram. “If babies are already being born in shelters, even if the shelling continues, then in this undeniable people’s war the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.”

One-time comedian-turned-president Zeleksny has so far remained in the capital Kiev, despite telling Ukrainians he is Russia’s “No. 1 target” and resisting US efforts to keep him and his family safe bring.

On Saturday, Zelensky said he spoke “every hour” with world leaders – those he called “friends” of Ukraine, including Italy and India, the latter of which he said gave his “full support”.

He also voiced support for the prospect of European allies cutting Russia off from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the banks’ messaging network known as SWIFT. The sanction would be a major blow to Russia but remains controversial because of the impact it could have on other European economies.

On Saturday, German officials, who had long opposed using SWIFT to sanction Russia, signaled openness to the move if done in a “targeted” manner.

“Our diplomats fought for days and inspirationally for all European countries to agree to this very strong and just decision to cut off Russia from the international interbank network,” Zelensky said, underscoring the importance of SWIFT for Russia. “We have this very important victory – that’s billions in losses for Russia, a tangible price to pay for this despicable invasion of our country.”

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