kyiv—The Ukrainian leader has secured $1 billion in new US military aid, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles used against Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia is building a new Cold War wall across Europe “between freedom and servitude”, after his government accused invading forces of bombing a theater housing many civilians and marked with the word “children”.
US President Joe Biden has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal’, sparking Kremlin fury, as the Russian leader also lashed out at ‘traitors’ at home who he says were undermining the war effort.
NATO members have so far resisted Zelensky’s calls for direct involvement through a no-fly zone over Ukraine, warning it could lead to a third world war against Russia. of nuclear weapons.
They have instead stepped up their military aid, with Biden announcing that the United States will also help Ukraine acquire longer-range anti-aircraft weapons.
Zelensky addressed the German parliament a day after a speech before the US Congress.
He returned to this Cold War era and was inspired by a speech given in Berlin in 1987 by US President Ronald Reagan: “Dear Mr. Scholz, tear down this wall”, as he implored the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“It’s not a Berlin Wall, it’s a wall in Central Europe between freedom and servitude and this wall is getting bigger with every bomb.”
In an overnight video message, Zelensky also urged Russians to lay down their arms, three weeks after the start of an invasion that saw the West impose harsh sanctions on Putin’s regime.
“If your war, the war against the Ukrainian people, continues, Russian mothers will lose more children than in the Afghan and Chechen wars combined,” he said, referring to the thousands killed in those conflicts.
In Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Thursday that the Philippines would remain neutral in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
“We have to maintain this neutrality. This is not our fight. Let’s not interfere,” he said.
Duterte reiterated his fear that the Russian invasion could escalate into nuclear war.
“If it goes nuclear, it’s the end of the world. It really is the end of everything,” the president said.
The Foreign Ministry said some 329 Filipinos from Ukraine had been repatriated to the Philippines, while 41 nationals in various safe borders were awaiting repatriation as of March 17.
The FDFA said the latest group of returnees are the 19 sailors from the ship Chariana L who arrived in the country on March 16. Currently, a total of 370 Filipinos have been evacuated from Ukraine since the war began in February.
The agency ordered Alert Level 4 or mandatory evacuation of Filipinos from all parts of Ukraine on March 7 due to the “rapidly deteriorating security situation” in the Eastern European country. .
Britain’s diplomatic mission to the UN tweeted that Russia was committing “war crimes and targeting civilians” in Ukraine, after the UK called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
“Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine is a threat to all of us,” he said, saying the request was made with the United States, France, Albania, Norway and the United States. ‘Ireland.
But Putin, in a televised government meeting on Wednesday, insisted the invasion was “going along successfully”, adding “we will not allow Ukraine to serve as a springboard for aggressive actions against Russia”. .
He also condemned Western sanctions as an “economic blitzkrieg”, after Russia was locked out of much of the Western financial system.
The Kremlin also rejected an order from the UN’s highest court to end its invasion of Ukraine.