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Zelenskyy urges more leaders to visit Kyiv


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 10, 2022.

By Azi Paybarah


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the leaders of three NATO-member countries who traveled into the war-torn capital of Ukraine for an extraordinary meeting Tuesday and urged others to do the same.


The leaders from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia who traveled to Kyiv “fear nothing,” Zelenskyy said after the meeting, adding, “I am sure that with such friends, with such countries, with such neighbors and partners, we will really be able to win.”


The leaders discussed not only increasing sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24, but also “plans to rebuild our country after the end of hostilities,” Zelenskyy’s office said, projecting an air of confidence despite a brutal campaign that has already driven more than 2 million Ukrainians to seek refuge in neighboring countries.


Zelenskyy has sought to rally international support through nightly videos that he posts on social media, as well as virtual meetings with world leaders — including a speech to U.S. lawmakers Wednesday.


But Tuesday’s meeting in Kyiv, which Russian forces have targeted, was a rare, in-person gathering for Zelenskyy and outside leaders. At least one attendee wore a green protective vest while sitting at the table with Zelenskyy, according to a photograph posted on the president’s official website.


Zelenskyy also invited other world leaders to join him in Kyiv, and once again pressed Western leaders to enforce a no-fly zone over the country, which they have resisted out of concerns of being drawn into a direct conflict with Russia.


“I invite all friends of Ukraine to visit Kyiv,” Zelenskyy said in a statement posted on his official Telegram channel. “It can be dangerous here. Because our sky is not yet closed to Russian missiles and planes.”


He add: “You know for sure that the eyes of all the people of the world are now focused on our capital, on Ukrainians.”

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