'Major war in Europe' could be started by Russia soon: Ukraine leader

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he had sought talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin but was unsuccessful. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV (AFP) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday (Feb 24) that Russia could start "a major war in Europe" in the coming days and urged Russians to oppose the attack.

In an address aired shortly after midnight, Mr Zelensky said Russia could invade Ukraine "any day now" and, addressing the Russian people, said that whether that happens "depends on you".

He said Russia had massed nearly 200,000 troops on Ukraine's borders as a conflict between the two neighbours appeared increasingly likely.

On the Ukrainian border "nearly 200,000 soldiers are stationed, (as are) thousands of combat vehicles", Mr Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian leader added that he had unsuccessfully sought talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I initiated a telephone call with the President of the Russian Federation. Result: silence."

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