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Ukrainian President Refuses U.S. Evacuation Offer: 'I Need Ammunition, Not a Ride'

AP Photo/Ronald Zak

The U.S. offered to evacuate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from his country as he fears Russia has put a target on his back. But Zelenskyy declined the offer on Saturday and instead vowed to fight for his country amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


"The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride," Zelenskyy said, according to the Ukraine embassy in Britain.

Zelenskyy, a former comedian, opted to remain in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv as Russia attacks the city. Gunfire and explosions were heard late Friday night and early Saturday morning in the streets of Kyiv.

The Ukrainian president's family has, however, been evacuated from the dangers of the war.

"I am staying in the government quarters together with others," Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation early Friday. "The enemy has designated me as target number one, and my family as target number two."

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday evening that Zelenskyy remains a "prime target for Russian aggression."

And in a Saturday morning video addressing the nation, Zelenskyy explained that Ukrainian fighters "won't lay down our arms" and that they will "defend our country." 

"There's a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms, and that there's evacuation," he said. "I'm here. We won't lay down our arms. We will defend our country."


"Glory to Ukraine," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine early Thursday morning. 

Russian forces have attacked Kyiv from several directions, encircling the city, following a barrage of airstrikes on Ukrainian cities and military bases. Hundreds of casualties have been reported amid fighting in and around Kyiv. Yet, Ukrainian forces appear to have held onto the capital as of Saturday morning, officials say.

"We are stopping the horde as best as we can, the situation in Kyiv is under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and our citizens," Security Council Secretary Danilov said Saturday morning, according to The Kyiv Independent.

And a U.S. defense official told reporters Saturday that the U.S. sees indications that Russia is "increasingly frustrated" by Ukraine's resistance, particularly in the northern region of the country.

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