Zelenskyy predicts victory in Ukraine and offers Russian soldiers “chance to survive”


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In an address Tuesday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy predicted victory over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine and offered Russian troops a “chance to survive” by surrendering.

“The 19th day of our resistance is over. Historic war. Another difficult day, still approaching our victory. Approaching peace for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy began, according to his presidential office.

He noted that “the enemy is confused” and did not expect stiff resistance. “Their soldiers know it. Their officers know it. They flee the battlefield. They abandon the equipment.”

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“We take trophies and use them to protect Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “Today, Russian troops are, in fact, one of the suppliers of equipment to our army. They could not imagine such a thing in a nightmare.”

Ukrainian soldiers examine their tanks at a military unit near Kharkiv, Ukraine on Monday.
(AP/Andrew Marienko)

He then addressed the Russian soldiers, urging them to surrender.

“Russian conscripts! Listen to me very carefully,” Zelenskyy warned. “Russian officers! You have already understood everything. You will not take anything from Ukraine. You will take lives. There are many of you. But your life will also be taken. But why should you die? For what? I know you want to survive.”

“Therefore, I offer you a choice,” the president said. “On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance. A chance to survive.”

KYIV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - "PRESIDENCY OF UKRAINE/ DOCUMENT" - NO MARKETING, NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a news conference on the Russian military operation in Ukraine, February 25, 2022 in Kyiv.

KYIV, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT – ‘PRESIDENCY OF UKRAINE/HANDOUT’ – NO MARKETING, NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE) Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a conference of press on the Russian military operation in Ukraine, February 25, 2022 in kyiv.
((Photo by Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))

“If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated. As people, decently. In a way, you weren’t treated in your army. And in a way , your army does not treat ours,” Zelenskyy said. added. “To choose!”

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He also praised Russians “who keep trying to convey the truth” despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on protests and journalists who contradict his government rhetoric. Zelenskyy specifically mentioned the woman who disrupted Russian state broadcaster Channel One.

He said he was “grateful… personally to the woman who walked into the Channel One studio with an anti-war poster. To those who are not afraid to demonstrate. Until your country has completely closed down to the whole world, to become a very big North Korea, you must fight. You must not lose your chance.

Members of the Ukrainian army arrive to reinforce a forward position on the eastern frontline near the village of Kalynivka on March 8, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Members of the Ukrainian army arrive to reinforce a forward position on the eastern frontline near the village of Kalynivka on March 8, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The president also warned that Russian military leaders would be held responsible for war crimes.

“Responsibility for the Russian military’s war crimes is inevitable,” he said. “The responsibility for a deliberate humanitarian disaster in Ukrainian cities is inevitable. The whole world sees what is happening in Mariupol. Kharkiv. Chernihiv. Sumy. Okhtyrka. Hostomel. Irpin. In all our cities.”

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Zelenskyy briefly touched on the peace talks with Russian negotiators, saying they appear to be “pretty good”.

“Our delegation also worked on this in the negotiations with the Russian side. Fairly well, as I was told,” he said. “But let’s see. They will continue tomorrow.”


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