Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 137 soldiers have been killed so far in the Russian invasion of his country.
In a video address released early Friday, he calls them “heroes” and says hundreds more have been wounded.
Despite Russia’s claim that it is only attacking military targets, Zelenskyy claims that civilian targets have been hit as well. “They’re murdering people and turning peaceful cities into military targets,” he says. It’s a heinous crime that will never be forgiven.”
All border guards on Zmiinyi island in the Odesa region, according to the president, were killed on Thursday. The island had been taken by the Russians, according to Ukraine’s border guard service earlier in the day.
To counter the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s president has ordered a full military mobilization.
The mobilization will last 90 days, according to a decree issued by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday evening.
He directed the military’s General Staff to calculate the number of those eligible for service and reservists, as well as the call-up order.
Zelensky delegated the task of allocating funds to pay for the mobilization to his Cabinet.
Leaders of the European Union pledged on Thursday to impose tough economic and financial sanctions on Russia, but there is disagreement in the West about cutting Russia off from the SWIFT financial payment system.
More than 11,000 institutions around the world use the Belgium-based cooperative. It moves money from one bank to the next, and removing Russia from it would almost certainly have an impact on European economies.
The move has been requested by Ukraine. While Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, has stated that EU sanctions must include Russia’s exclusion from the scheme, many EU leaders remain skeptical.
For example, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has stated that such a decision would harm European economies. It should be a last-resort measure, according to Rutte, and a decision can be made later.
“A number of countries are hesitant because it has serious implications for them,” he explained.
On Thursday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the Russian embassy in Budapest to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand that Hungary’s government sever its ties with Moscow.
Protesters chanted for peace and an end to Russian attacks while waving Ukrainian and European Union flags, and demanded that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pull his country out of its business dealings with Russia.
The demonstration in Budapest was organized by a coalition of six opposition parties working together to unseat Orban and his ruling Fidesz party in the April 3 parliamentary elections.
Independent conservative Peter Marki-Zay, the coalition’s candidate for prime minister, chastised Orban for his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged him to “take a clear stand on Hungary’s commitment to the European Union and NATO, our allies.”
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