‘When the limits of rights and freedoms are being violated and stepped on, then you have to protect us’
“We are a place in Europe, a place of freedom, a zone of freedom,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir that aired on Monday.
“When the limits of rights and freedoms are being violated and stepped on, then you have to protect us. Because we will come first, you will come second.”
Mr Zelensky’s comments comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its 13th day on Tuesday with no signs of the violence abating.
Last Friday, the Nato had refused to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, claiming the move could provoke war in Europe.
Reiterating the need to secure Ukrainian air space, Mr Zelensky said: “We cannot allow Russia to be active there only, because they’re bombing us, they are shelling us, they are sending missiles, helicopters, jet fighters – a lot of things.”
“We don’t control our sky.”
He also added that US president Joe Biden could do more to help Ukraine.
“I am sure he can and I would like to believe that. He is capable of doing that.”
On Monday, Russia issued Ukraine with a list of conditions that it must follow to halt the invasion even as another round of ceasefire negotiations ended without much progress on the same day.
Mr Zelensky said Russian troops continued to attack civilian structures, forcing the Ukrainian army to retaliate.
“I think there is no other answer… they need to be shot down. You have to preserve lives,” he said.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian army said on Tuesday that Russian troops are planning to storm Kyiv, after they failed to capture the capital almost two weeks after the full scale invasion was launched.
“I’m sure the Ukrainians are prepared to stand against Russia for their entire lives,” Mr Zelensky.
“We will endure, and even if they come into all our cities, there will be insurgency, insurgent war,” he said. “No one will give away our independence.”
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.