Zelenskyy says Russia is creating a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

KYIV

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces are blockading Ukraine’s largest cities to create a “humanitarian catastrophe” with the aim of persuading Ukrainians to cooperate with them.

He says Russians are preventing supplies from reaching surrounded cities in the centre and south-east of the country.

“This is a totally deliberate tactic,” Mr Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation, filmed outside in Kyiv, with the presidential office in the lamplight behind him.

He said more than 9,000 people were able to leave besieged Mariupol in the past day, and in all more than 180,000 people have been able to flee to safety through humanitarian corridors.

He noted that the 200,000 people Putin gathered in and around a Moscow stadium on Friday for a flag-waving rally was about the same number of Russian troops sent into Ukraine three weeks ago.

Zelenskyy then asked his audience to picture the stadium filled with the thousands of Russians who have been killed, wounded or maimed in the fighting.

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