The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russia will launch an attack on the country on Wednesday.
Zelensky made the announcement on Facebook: Great people of a great country! There have been serious external and internal challenges in front of our country, which require responsibility, confidence and concrete actions from me and each of us.
We are intimidated by a great war and once again set the date of the military invasion. This is not the first time. But our state is stronger today than ever.
We strive for peace and want to solve all issues exclusively through negotiations. And Donbass, and Crimea will return to Ukraine. Only in a diplomatic way. We don’t stare at someone else’s, but we won’t give our own. We have an amazing army. Our boys have unique combat experience and modern weapons. This is already times stronger than the army eight years ago. We are confident in our armed forces, and our military too should feel our support, our togetherness and our unity. The basis of our army is the confidence of our own people and a strong economy.
We are told that February 16 will be the day of attack. We will make it a union day. The decree has already been signed. This afternoon we will hang national flags, put on blue-yellow ribbons and show the world our unity.
We have one great European aspiration. We want freedom and are ready to vote for it. 14 thousand defenders and civilians who died in this war are watching us from the sky. And we will not betray their memory.
We all want to live happily, and happiness loves the strong. We have never been able to give up and we are not going to learn that.
Love Ukraine! We are at peace! We are strong! We are together!
A spokesperson for Zelensky later walked back his comments, saying he was referencing a date that was reported by media outlets.
“It is not even an official date,” his spokesman added.
A senior Ukrainian official has denied that President Zelensky was being literal when he said in an address to the nation that he'd been told a Russian attack would begin on February 16th. Mykhailo Podoliak, a Presidential adviser, that Zelensky was being ironic.
— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) February 14, 2022
The news comes as United States intelligence has been warning of an imminent attack on the country.
The US State Department on Monday also announced the closure of its embassy in Kyiv.