“All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next?” Mr Zelensky said in his address.
The warning from the Ukrainian president came as a Russian general elaborated on Moscow’s intention to control the whole of southern Ukraine to better access Moldova.
Command over southern Ukraine would give Russia access to Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west, central military district’s military commander Rustam Minnekayev was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agencies.
Moldova was quick to react to the comments, as it summoned Moscow’s ambassador on Friday to express “deep concern” over the remarks. Claiming to be neutral, Moldova had moved to join the European Union last month, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US State department also put its weight behind Moldova’s sovereignty, even as Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Russia’s expansion plan in southern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence ministry issued a statement saying that Russia was no longer trying to hide its intention and has now “acknowledged that the goal of the ‘second phase’ of the war is not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine. Imperialism as it is.”
Ukraine’s military added that Russia is continuing its attack in the east, trying to establish complete control over Donetsk and Luhansk region and secure connection to Crimea. The forces are also partially blockading Kharkiv, according to Ukraine’s general staff.
Meanwhile, British military intelligence issued an update on Saturday saying that despite the increased activity, Russian forces have made no major gains in the last 24 hours, as it lauded Ukrainian fighters for hindering their effort.
“Russia’s air and maritime forces have not established control in either domain owing to the effectiveness of Ukraine’s air and sea defences,” the Ministry of Defence tweeted.
“Despite their stated conquest of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to take place frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas.”
Additional reporting from the wires