Thousands of Ukrainians gathered in the nation’s capital of Kyiv to demonstrate in the face of possible invasion by Russia, Reuters reported.
The demonstrators walked through the center of the city with Ukrainian flags and signs saying “Ukrainians will resist” and “Invaders must die” as they chanted “Glory to Ukraine.”
As demonstrations broke out, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians not to panic, stating that it was not yet certain that Russia would invade.
“The best friend of our enemies is panic in our country. And all this information is just provoking panic and can’t help us,” said Zelenskiy, according to Reuters. “I can’t agree or disagree with what hasn’t happened yet. So far, there is no full-scale war in Ukraine.”
Zelenskiy, who recently attended Ukrainian police drills, said that it is true that a Russian attack could happen at any time.
“We have to be ready each day,” Zelenskiy said, according to the wire service. “It did not begin yesterday. It began in 2014, so we are ready and this is why we are here.”
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea.
Russia has accumulated more than 100,000 troops at its border with Ukraine, prompting concern from the international community, including the U.S., that it will invade the former Soviet state.
The U.S. and its allies have attempted to deescalate the situation through diplomacy and avoid conflict.
But on Friday, U.S. officials, including White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanOvernight Defense & National Security — WH: Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day’ Five things to know as US warns Russia could invade Ukraine ‘any day now’ Nonprofit involved in Afghan evacuations prepares for rescue operations in Ukraine MORE, said that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day” and that Americans in the area must leave.
A number of Western governments have joined the U.S. in calling for citizens to exit Ukraine in case of an invasion.
The U.S. ordered most of its embassy staff to exit Kyiv on Saturday.