Zelensky says Biden ‘looked on from a distance’ as Russia invaded Ukraine

‘This morning, we are defending our country alone’

War in Ukraine: What happened on day one?
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Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the US of standing by as Russia invaded Ukraine, appearing to hit out at US President Joe Biden’s actions as he blasted sanctions as not being enough to get Russian troops out of the country.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Zelensky said: “This morning, we are defending our country alone. Just like yesterday, the most powerful country in the world looked on from a distance.

“Russia was hit with sanctions yesterday, but these are not enough to get these foreign troops off our soil. Only through solidarity and determination can this be achieved.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, launching attacks in the early hours of the morning. Russian President Vladimir Putin also issued a stark warning to Ukraine’s allies.

He said Russia’s military operation was intended to “de-Nazify” the country.

“To anyone who would consider interfering from outside: If you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All the relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me,” Mr Putin said.

The US responded by slapping sanctions on Russia that restricted exports as well as sanctioning Russian financial institutions. However, President Biden stopped short of blocking Russia from the SWIFT payment system for the time being – a move that has not gone down well in Kyiv.

“I will not be diplomatic on this,” tweeted Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. “Everyone who now doubts whether Russia should be banned from Swift has to understand that the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will be on their hands too. BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT.”

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