Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is only the beginning -- Moscow wants to subdue other countries, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Friday.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning, then they want to capture other countries. Of course, we will defend ourselves as long as necessary to break this ambition of the Russian Federation," Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation.
Urging countries that have stayed neutral as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, Zelenskyy said Ukraine is "the first on this path," adding, "if anyone who can become next wants to stay neutral today so as not to lose anything, this is the riskiest bet."
Claiming that the Russian army's goal is to take control of the south of Ukraine, he said: "With the reference of the Russian military, the news was spread that their task now is allegedly to establish control over the south of Ukraine border and each Moldovan border."
The Ukrainian president said all countries and nations that believe in the victory of life over death should stand by Ukraine.
He also thanked Ukraine's partners that delivered weapons Ukraine wanted.
Noting that officials pay maximum attention to provide the Ukrainian military with all necessary weapons, he added: "I am grateful to all our partners who finally heard us. Who provided us with exactly what we asked for."
Zelenskyy also urged Ukrainians in territory controlled by the Russian army to resist Russian forces.
Since the war began Feb. 24, the civilian death toll in Ukraine has climbed to 2,435, while 2,946 have been injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be much higher.
More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.