UPDATED 1:51 PM PT – Friday, February 25, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for a military coup in Ukraine. In a televised speech Friday, Putin told the Ukrainian military to seize power from its government and overthrow democratically-elected President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Putin said it would be easier to make a deal with military personnel than “a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis.” This comes as Zelensky, who is Jewish, posted a video message to the Ukrainian people in which he stated he’s not leaving the nation’s capital and will defend his country.
“Our troops are here, citizens are here, all of us are here protecting our independence of our country,” said the Ukrainian president. “And it will continue to be this way. Glory to our defenders, glory to Ukraine, glory to heroes.”
Additionally, Zelenskyy said he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden for 40-minutes Friday and discussed sanctions, defense assistance and an anti-war coalition. The U.S. plans to sanction Putin directly, according to reports.
The Russian president would be the most high-profile target of the U.S.’s campaign to apply punitive measures against Russia. Other members of Putin’s inner circle are also likely to be targeted. This follows similar sanctions announced by the European Union and the U.K. against Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Meanwhile, China said it supports Russia amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with President Putin Friday and said while he respects the security concerns of all countries, he supports Russia in resolving the issue through negotiation.
Telephone conversation with President of China Xi Jinping: developments in Ukraine https://t.co/zTF84jSy07
— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) February 25, 2022
Putin reportedly told Xi the Kremlin is ready to hold high level talks with Ukraine’s government. Russia is seeking the full demilitarization of Ukraine and assurances the country will not be joining NATO.
According to a Kremlin spokesman, Putin is prepared to send a delegation to Minsk for talks, but Ukraine has gone silent on possible negotiations. This all comes as Russia’s onslaught of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev continues.