Ukrainian President Rejects U.S. Offer of Evacuation: ‘I Need Ammunition, Not a Ride’

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Street fighting breaks out in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected an evacuation offer from the United States and is remaining in his country as Russian forces capture more ground, Ukrainian officials said on Feb. 26.

“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelensky said in a statement.

The White House and State Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he spoke with Zelensky following an emergency North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit. Biden said he “commended the brave actions of the Ukrainian people who were fighting to defend their country” and “conveyed ongoing economic, humanitarian, and security support being provided by the United States as well as our continued efforts to rally other countries to provide similar assistance.”

The Biden administration has also reportedly asked Congress for $6.4 billion to provide support to Ukraine.

Zelensky spoke to Ukrainians while standing in Kyiv, the capital of the country, on Saturday as fighting broke out in the streets there.

“Good morning Ukrainians. Do not believe fake news. I am here. We will not lay down our weapons. We will defend our country. Our weapons are our strength. This is our land. Our country. Our children. We will protect all of them,” Zelensky said in the video, which he posted on social media.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and fighting in multiple parts of the country has unfolded since then.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded Ukrainians disarm and overthrow Zelensky.

Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control, Zelensky said in a separate video released by his administration early Saturday.

But in addition to ground fights, airstrikes dealt damage to portions of the city and left soldiers and civilians dead and wounded.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba shared a picture of an apartment building damaged by a strike, writing that “Kyiv, our splendid, peaceful city, survived another night under attacks by Russian ground forces, missiles.”

By Zachary Stieber

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