Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations has called for Vladimir Putin to “kill himself” as he compared the Russian leader to Adolf Hitler.
Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya made the dramatic comments at an emergency UN session on Monday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raged on for a fifth day.
Reacting to Mr Putin’s order putting Russia’s nuclear weapons forces on high alert, Mr Kyslytsya said: “What a madness. If [Putin] wants to kill himself, he doesn’t need to use nuclear arsenal. He has to do what the guy in Berlin did in a bunker in May 1945.”
The remark was in reference to Mr Hitler’s suicide as allied forces moved in on Berlin at the end of World War II.
At the same meeting, Mr Kyslytsya read out heartbreaking final texts purportedly sent by a Russian soldier to his mother before he was killed in combat.
“I’m scared, we’re hitting everyone, even civilians,” the unidentified soldier wrote in Russian. “We had been told that people would welcome us here but they jump under our vehicles, not letting us pass. They call us fascists.
“Mom, it’s so hard.”
The soldier told his mother that he is no longer in Crimea doing training exercises and says: “We were told that [civilians] would welcome us.”
When the mother asked if she could send him a package, he replied that “the only thing I want now is to hang myself”.
Mr Kyslytsya said the messages were sent moments before the soldier was killed. It is unclear how he died.
The tragic messages - which have only been verified by Ukrainian sources - came as Mr Putin’s forces were accused of killing a child and two adults by dropping bombs on a pre-school in the city of Okhtyrka.
The strike may constitute a war crime, human rights organisation Amnesty International said.
Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty, said: “It is stomach-turning to see an indiscriminate attack on a nursery and kindergarten where civilians are seeking safe haven.”
Drone footage from the scene shows cluster munitions struck at least seven locations on or near the building, Amnesty said.
Two injured or dead civilians are also visible.
Also on the fifth day of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applied for his country to join the European Union as his representatives met with Russian counterparts to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire.
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