Preparing to die for his people: Zelenskyy warns might be last time you see me alive

Zelenskyy and key government ministers remain in Kyiv

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Russian troops continue their attack on Ukraine, edging closer to the centre of the capital Kiev. The UK’s Ministry of Defence states most of Russia’s forces aiming towards the centre remain 50km away, adding that there are “sporadic clashes” in the northern suburbs of the capital.

Ukraine’s president did not share his exact location but said he would “stay in the capital” before telling leaders “it might be the last time you see me alive”.

Mr Zelenskyy warned he was Russia’s “number one target” as he believes Russia wants to “destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state” During his video conference with EU leaders he affirmed he would not share his family’s location, warning they are the “number two” target.

On Friday a video shared on social media showed Mr Zelenskyy and government ministers remaining in Kyiv, despite Russian propaganda claiming they have left.

During an address to the public on Thursday Zelenskyy said: “During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital.

“My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine.”

The Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko said the city had entered a “defensive phase” and members of the public are being encouraged to make Molotov cocktails, also known as a petrol bomb. On an industrial estate, hundreds of AK-47 rifles and weapons were being handed to civilians.

On an industrial estate, hundreds of AK-47 rifles and weapons were being handed to civilians.

More than 50,000 Ukrainians have fled in less than 48 hours, according to Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for refugees, with many more moving towards the borders.

Now Mr Zelenskyy has demanded tougher sanctions and support as the attack closes in on Kyiv.

After holding talks with Boris Johnson, Zelenskyy called for allies to provide “effective counteraction” saying Ukraine “needs the support of partners more than ever”.

He added: “We demand effective counteraction to the Russian Federation. Sanctions must be further strengthened.”

Number 10 confirmed the Prime Minister assured the Ukrainian president that the “world is united in its horror at what Putin is doing” and praised the “bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people”.

A spokesperson added that Mr Johnson could not provide details of what support will be despatched, but said “nothing is off the table”.

During his address on Friday Zelenskyy confirmed 137 civilians and military personnel were killed during the first day of the invasion and a further 316 had been wounded.

According to Kyiv’s defence ministry Russia has now lost 2,800 troops, 80 tanks, 516 armoured vehicles, 10 airplanes and seven helicopters.

The UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia is “behind its hoped-for-timetable.”

Mr Wallace said: “One of the significant airports they were trying to capture with their elite Spetsnaz has failed to be taken. In fact, the Ukrainians have taken it back.

“So, I think contrary to great Russian claims and indeed President Putin’s sort of vision that somehow the Ukrainians would be liberated and would be flocking to his cause – he’s got that completely wrong. The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective.”

He ruled out Britain helping enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine because the RAF fighting Russian jets would trigger a “war across Europe”.

“He is trying to invade Ukraine. He won’t stop after Ukraine. He will use everything in the Baltic states. He doesn’t believe the Baltic states are really countries.”

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