Zelenskiy Calls For Immediate ‘Security Guarantees’ For Ukraine

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KYIV — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for “effective security guarantees for Ukraine” immediately, even as rescue work continues following a Russian air strike in the Donetsk region city of Slovyansk that left at least 11 civilians dead.

In his nightly video address on April 15, Zelenskiy said he had held a 90-minute phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron during which the two leaders affirmed “those principles that unite our entire anti-war coalition,” including that Russia must withdraw from all Ukrainian territory, that all points of the UN Charter must be enforced, and that “none of Russia’s violations of international law can be ignored.”

“It is upon such principles that security and peace will be restored in international relations,” Zelenskiy said.

He urged NATO leaders to extend “effective security guarantees for Ukraine” ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, “even before we join the alliance.” Ukraine in September asked NATO to consider it for an accelerated membership path.

Speaking at a Black Sea regional security conference in Bucharest on April 15, Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov called on the international community to seize “the strategic initiative and be ready to act quickly and preemptively” in the face of security threats.

Such an approach, he said, “will be the best sobering factor for any aggressor.” He also called for a “system of guarantees” that he said could curb “the desire of the Russian Federation to solve things by force.”

In his video address, Zelenskiy said over 50 buildings had been damaged or destroyed in the Slovyansk air strike on April 14 and that “there are still bodies” under the rubble. One of the victims was an “boy born in 2021,” he said. At least 23 people were reportedly injured in the attack.

“None of those who are guilty of this aggression can be forgiven or forgotten,” he concluded.

WATCH: Both Slovyansk and neighboring Kramatorsk are facing intensified attacks by Russian invading forces, currently bogged down in nearby Bakhmut, which they have tried to seize for months, taking heavy casualties but advancing slowly.

The Ukrainian military on April 16 reported more than 60 Russian attacks along the contested front around the Donetsk region city of Bakhmut, which has seen the most intense fighting of the war over the past several months.

In addition, the General Staff reported in its daily briefing, there were attacks in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya areas.

The military administration in the Zaporizhzhya region reported a “massive attack” overnight that damaged a church in the settlement of Komyshuvakha. The extent of the damage and number of possible casualties was being determined, administration head Yuriy Malashko wrote on Telegram.

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