Ukrainian president calls for international “foreign legion” of volunteers to help fight off Russian invasion; Putin raises nuclear weapons readiness
02/28/2022 // JD Heyes // Views

As Russian forces continue to push into Ukraine by the tens of thousands, and with NATO sitting this war out so far, the besieged country's leader has been reduced to mobilizing every man between the ages of 18 and 60 while also calling for a "foreign legion" of volunteers from around the world to come to fight on his behalf.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued his call Sunday on the fourth day of fighting, as Russian bombs landed in Kyiv and also Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, and as Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the readiness level of his nuclear forces. Zelenskyy hopes to draw in fighters from around the world to "defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine," according to Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who advised interested parties to make contact through their countries' diplomatic offices.

"Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin, too," Kuleba said, according to Fox News.

The outlet adds: "The U.S. and its NATO allies have announced economic sanctions against several major Russian entities and have supplied Ukraine with material support, but have not sent troops onto the ground to assist in physical fighting."

Meanwhile, there has been some attempt at diplomacy, though the efforts have been hackneyed and intermittent. Putin has suggested he and Zelenskyy meet in a Belarusan city, which the Ukrainian president has flatly rejected, considering that Putin staged some Russian forces in that country prior to his invasion.


At the same time, Zelenskyy is calling for Russia to lose its prestigious power as a voting member of the U.N. Security Council, claiming -- correctly -- that the attack by Putin on his country is tantamount to "criminal actions" that is producing "signs of genocide," a report noted.

"This is terror," he said in a video message.

"They are going to bomb our Ukrainian cities even more, they are going to kill our children even more subtly," he continued, according to Reuters. "This is the evil that has come to our land and must be destroyed.

"Russia's criminal actions against Ukraine bear signs of genocide," he added.

As for negotiations to end the fighting, "Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku. We proposed all of them," Zelenskyy said, referring to several alternative locations for the proposed talks, Agence France-Press noted.

"And any other city in a country from whose territory missiles do not fly would suit us," he added.

Also Sunday, the Kremlin said that a diplomatic team had been dispatched to Belarus and was awaiting counterparts from Ukraine.

"The Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who noted the delegation includes military personnel and diplomats.

Ukrainian officials countered that the offer for peace talks was not "real" and was instead designed to push Russian "propaganda."

The back-and-forth over peace talks came as Putin ordered his nuclear forces upgraded to "special regime of combat readiness."

"He is right now threatening a nuclear escalation," said former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler. "This a veiled threat – or maybe such a veiled threat - he just met with his chief of general staff and minister of defense. He is escalating the conflict into the nuclear domain in order to de-escalate – that is topple Kyiv’s regime quickly."

"As you notice, this order by President Putin came shortly after the announcement was made about the two delegations ready to meet. And we see this announcement this order, as an attempt to raise stakes and to put additional pressure on the Ukrainian delegation," Kuleba said in a briefing in Kyiv, noting that the two sides had agreed later Sunday to a Monday morning meeting at the Belarus-Ukraine border.

"But we will not give in to this pressure" and said, "We will approach this talks with a very simple approach," according to CNN.

Sources include:

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