Zelenskyy Slams Lies About Invasion: 'We Are Defending Our Land'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy struck a defiant tone and called for an end to lies about the conflict in Ukraine in a video briefing on Saturday, as he said his country's forces were still in control of the capital city of Kyiv and were holding back a Russian advance.

Zelenskyy had quashed rumors on Friday that he had fled the country by posting a video showing him in the streets of Kyiv but the Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, claimed on Saturday that the president had left the city for Lviv.

However, Volodin's claim cannot be verified and there has been a significant amount of misinformation around the conflict in recent days, as Ukrainians have put up fierce resistance to the invasion.

Toward the end of his speech on Saturday, Zelenskyy said: "Please stop those who are lying, or trying to lie to you, or lying to us. We need to stop this war. We can live in peace together, globally as humans."

The president went on: "We are successfully holding back the enemy's attacks. We know we are defending our land and the future of our children. Kyiv and the key areas are controlled by our army."

"The occupiers wanted to set up their puppet in our capital. They didn't succeed. On our streets, there was a proper fight going on," Zelenskyy said.

"The enemy was using all its weapons, artillery, paratroops, all its weapons. They are hitting residential areas, they are trying to destroy energy infrastructure and everyone should help us to stop this occupation," he said.

Zelenskyy also made a direct appeal to the Russian people.

"Hundreds of captured soldiers who are here in Ukraine don't know why they were sent here to kill people or be killed." he said. "People need to tell the government why the war has to be stopped, more people from your country will stay alive."

Russian news agency Interfax reported on Saturday that Volodin claimed Zelenskyy had left Kyiv for the more westerly city of Lviv.

"Zelenskyy hastily left Kyiv," Volodin wrote on messaging app Telegram. "He was not in the capital of Ukraine yesterday. Together with his entourage, he fled to the city of Lviv, where he and his assistants were equipped with a place to live."

Volodin claimed that videos posted to Zelenskyy's social media were prerecorded.

However, Zelenskyy has maintained he is in the capital and posted a video on Twitter on Saturday morning saying: "I'm here. We are not putting down any arms. We will protect our country, because our weapons are our truth."

The president has been active on Twitter throughout the day on Saturday, highlighting his conversations with world leaders.

When reached by Newsweek on Saturday, the U.S. Department of Defense pointed to its recent statements on the situation in Ukraine and did not comment on Volodin's claim.

The Ukrainian embassy to the U.K. tweeted on Saturday that Zelenskyy had refused a U.S. offer of evacuation.

"The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride," Zelenskyy reportedly said.

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 Volodymyr Zelenskyy Delivers a Statement
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany. Zelenskyy struck a defiant tone in remarks on Saturday amid the ongoing Russian invasion. Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty Images