Ukrainian president calls Russian counterpart to negotiating table

‘Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not just invasion, it is beginning of war against Europe,’ Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says.

Ukrainian president calls Russian counterpart to negotiating table

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to return to the negotiating table “to stop the deaths.” 

"I, once again, call on the President of Russia; There is a war going on all over Ukraine, let us sit at the negotiating table to stop the deaths," Zelenskyy said in a video message shared on social media.

He also called on the Ukrainian Armed Forces to “stay strong, all we have is you, the only thing that protects our state. Long live Ukraine."

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not just an invasion, it is the beginning of a war against Europe," the Ukrainian president added.

He also commented on the European stance, saying that they are aware of the situation in Ukraine but "we do not think you (Europe) would do anything."

"How will you defend yourself while helping Ukraine so slowly?" he asked the European powers.

Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine expects European states to "cancel visas to Russians, cut off from the SWIFT bank-messaging system, complete isolation of Russia, recall ambassadors, embargo on oil, close airspace."

Earlier Friday, Zelenskyy said in another video message that "this morning we are defending our state alone ... The world's most powerful forces are watching from afar."

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, claims consistently rejected by Moscow.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow earlier this week officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

Putin said the operation aims to protect people “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine, while calling on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.