Zelensky says Russia aims to destroy Donbass region and pledges to defend it

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday accused Russia of wanting to “destroy” the entire eastern region of Donbass, promising that everything would be done to defend it, starting with the strategic port of Mariupol where soldiers are called upon to fight “until the end.” Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are in Paris time (GMT+2)

12:15 a.m.: Zelensky: Russia will “destroy” the eastern region of Donbass

“Russian soldiers are preparing for an offensive in the east of our country in the near future. They literally want to end it and destroy Donbass,” Zelensky said in a statement. video message.“Just as the Russian military is destroying Mariupol, they want to destroy other cities and other communities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” he continued. “We do everything to defend.”

11:15 p.m .: Zelensky discusses post-war reconstruction with IMF managing director

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday he had spoken with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva about Ukraine’s financial stability and the country’s post-war reconstruction.

“I discussed with IMF Managing Director Georgieva the issue of Ukraine’s financial stability and preparations for post-war reconstruction. We have clear plans for now, as well as a vision of the prospects. I am sure that cooperation between the IMF and Ukraine will continue to be fruitful,” Zelensky said in a tweet.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said earlier that he would attend meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington this week and would ask for more financial assistance from Ukraine.

6:37 p.m .: Zelensky says he invited Macron to see evidence of “genocide”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had invited his French counterpart to visit Ukraine to see for himself evidence that Russian forces committed “genocide”, a term President Emmanuel Macron has avoided.

“I spoke to him yesterday,” Zelensky told CNN in an interview. “I just told him that I wanted him to understand that this is not war, but nothing but genocide. I invited him to come when he has the chance. He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he’ll understand.

Zelensky said he also believes US President Joe Biden will come at some point, although White House officials have said there are no plans to. The Ukrainian leader said he thought Macron was hesitant to use the term “genocide” – a term Biden has now used regarding the war in Ukraine – because he believes it would hurt the chances of diplomatic engagement with Russia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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