Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told European Union leaders that they may never see him again during a video conference on Thursday, according to Axios.
Zelensky, who vowed to remain in Kyiv as Russian troops move toward the nation’s capital, told EU leaders “this might be the last time you see me alive.”
The Pentagon said Thursday that Russia appears determined to encircle Kyiv and “decapitate” its government.
Zelensky said Thursday that Russian “sabotage forces” were already in Kyiv and hunting him and his family.
The call with EU leaders came as Europe mulled sanctions against Russia.
Zelensky urged leaders to go further with their measures.
EU sanctions Putin, Lavrov:
Following the discussion, the EU said it plans to freeze the assets of Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“Second wave of sanctions with massive and severe consequences politically agreed last night,” tweeted European Council President Charles Michel. “Further package under urgent preparation.”
The EU will also sanction Russia’s finance, transportation, and energy sectors and added more Russian individuals to the sanctions list.
“The package of massive and targeted sanctions European leaders approved tonight clearly demonstrates that it will have maximum impact on the Russian economy and the political elite,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Friday.
Ex-EU leader calls out weak sanctions:
Former European Council President Donald Tusk called out several European countries from blocking stronger sanctions against Russia.
Germany refused to agree to block Russia from the SWIFT bank payment system. Italy asked that luxury goods be excluded from the sanctions. Hungary has pushed back on racheting up the measures.
“In this war everything is real: Putin’s madness and cruelty, Ukrainian victims, bombs falling on Kyiv,” Tusk tweeted. “Only your sanctions are pretended. Those EU governments, which blocked tough decisions (i.e. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have disgraced themselves.”
An unnamed EU diplomat told the Financial Times, “The question is, what are we waiting for on the other sanctions? If we can’t do Swift, can’t we at least not be slow on oligarchs?”