Ukraine's president warns a Russian invasion would spark a 'fully-fledged' European war

Ukraine's president warns a Russian invasion would spark a 'fully-fledged' European war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talks during a joint media conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 3, 2021.AP
  • Ukraine's president warned that a Russian invasion could spark a "fully-fledged" European war.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky made the remarks on Tuesday at a press conference with the UK's Boris Johnson.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could spark a "fully-fledged" European war, according to multiple reports.

"This is not going to be a war of Ukraine and Russia," Zelensky said while hosting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Kyiv. "This is going to be a European war. A fully-fledged war."

"No one is going to give away territory any longer," Zelensky added, the report said.

Zelensky's comments come after he accused the West on Friday of causing "panic" over the threat of a Russian invasion. The Ukrainian president expressed concerns that the rhetoric surrounding the crisis was threatening to destabilize his country's economy.

"There are signals even from respected leaders of states, they just say that tomorrow there will be war," he said at a press conference, the BBC reported. "This is panic — how much does it cost for our state?"


Russia has gathered roughly 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine. The Kremlin says it doesn't have plans to invade, but has resisted calls from Western leaders to pull its troops and lower the temperature.

Moscow has a history of aggression toward Ukraine. In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine. And since that year, the Kremlin has supported separatists in a war against Ukraine in the eastern Donbass region.

But Russia has blamed the recent tensions on NATO, accusing the alliance of not respecting its red lines in the region.

Along these lines, Moscow has made demands for binding security guarantees from the West — including barring Ukraine and Georgia from ever joining NATO. The alliance and the US have been adamant that this demand is a non-starter, underscoring that NATO's open door policy is non-negotiable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the US and NATO of ignoring Moscow's security concerns. He also warned that admitting Ukraine to NATO could lead to a war between Russia and the Western military alliance. If Ukraine was part of NATO, other members would be obligated to defend it based on the alliance's core principles.


Despite Putin's rhetoric, there are no signs that Ukraine will become a NATO member at any point in the near future.

Ukraine has sought to join NATO for years, and has a robust partnership with the alliance. But NATO hasn't taken key steps that would put Ukraine on track to become a member, and the alliance isn't in a rush to change that.

The Biden administration has signaled that issues like corruption are holding Ukraine back from becoming a member, though experts say the delay is also part of an effort to avoid provoking Moscow.

Since it's not a NATO member, Biden has ruled out sending troops into Ukraine in the event of a Russian military incursion. But the US has warned Moscow that it would face major economic consequences if Russian troops invade Ukraine.

During a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken "urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine's borders," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.


"[Blinken] emphasized that further invasion of Ukraine would be met with swift and severe consequences and urged Russia to pursue a diplomatic path," Price added.