Zelensky says if Ukraine falls, Baltic states ‘next’ – World

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday urged the West to expand military aid to Ukraine.

“If you don’t have the strength to close the sky, give me a plane!” Zelensky said at a press conference. “If we no longer exist, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will be next,” he added. “Trust me.”

He called for a direct meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying it was “the only way to prevent this war”.

“We do not attack Russia and we do not plan to attack Russia. What do you want from us? Leave our land,” he told Putin.

“Sit with me. It’s less than 30 meters away like (French President Emmanuel Macron),” the Ukrainian leader said.

Zelensky, who was trying to appease Ukrainians just a few weeks ago with US claims that Russia was planning an invasion, said:

Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last week. Russia says it does not target civilian areas, despite widespread evidence.

Ukraine said on Wednesday that a Russian aircraft struck a school in the northern city of Chernikh, killing nine people. Kyiv says more than 350 civilians have been killed since Putin began the invasion.

Putin: plans to advance military force in Ukraine

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow’s advance into Ukraine was proceeding “as planned” and ordered hefty compensation to Russian soldiers killed in the invasion.

“I want to tell you that the special military operation is proceeding strictly as planned,” he said at the Security Council meeting.

“We are at war with the Neo-Nazis,” the Russian leader said. “I will never give up my conviction that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.”

He said the Russian army is fighting “bravely like a real hero”.

He also ordered compensation to be paid to the families of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.

“It is our duty to support the families who fought for the Russian people,” Putin said.

A day earlier, Russia put the figure in losses for the first time in Ukraine, with 498 troops killed since Putin ordered an invasion last week. Ukraine says the number is much higher.