Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed concern that Russian may attack holy religious sites and said Russian troops are trying to “erase our history.”
In a speech posted on Facebook, Zelenskyy on Wednesday denounced a Russian strike that hit Holocaust memorial site Babi Yar in Kyiv on Tuesday.
He said: “This is beyond humanity. Such a missile strike means that for many Russians our Kyiv is absolute foreign. They know nothing about our capital, about our history. They have orders to erase our history, our country and all of us.”
‘‘What will be next if even Babi Yar has been hit? What other military' objects, NATO bases' are threatening Russia? St. Sophia's Cathedral, Lavra, Andrew's Church?” he asked, referring to sites in Kyiv held sacred by Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox believers around the world.
The president, unshaven and wearing a military-style khaki T-shirt, said the West's response was not enough, calling for more international support, including backing Ukraine's bid to join the European Union. 'This is no time to be neutral,' he added.
As he spoke, troops were preparing barricades to defend the city of Zaporizhzhia - including setting up defences around the reactors of Energodar power plant. Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine's interior ministry, called on generals to bypass the city while warning they could create a 'new Chernobyl' if the plant is damaged.
'Because of Putin's madness, Europe is again on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe,' he wrote on Facebook. 'The city where the largest nuclear power plant in Europe is located is preparing for a battle with the invaders.
An accident can happen like at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant or the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Russian generals - think again! Radiation does not know nationalities, does not spare anyone!'
Zelenskyy also claimed almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began last Thursday. Russia has not released overall casualty numbers and the figure could not be confirmed.