A quiet challenge took place in Kyiv on Tuesday, a day after Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions, Donetsk and Lugansk.
Daily life continued as normal, while the country’s leaders focused on maintaining calm – but also preparing – in the face of the growing risk of another Russian attack.
A meeting of Ukraine’s Security Council continued late Monday night, with brief statements by President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he said Russia’s actions constituted a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. But he adopted a cold tone.
“We are embarking on a peaceful and diplomatic path, and we will follow it,” Zelensky said. “We are not afraid of anything or anyone.
On Tuesday, Zelensky said he was considering next steps, such as severing diplomatic ties with Russia. He also talked about the preparations, saying that if a new assault were to take place, martial law could be imposed.
Ukrainians, too, braced for a possible conflict, soliciting donations for military charities online and asking how far into Ukraine Moscow planned to deploy its troops.
Still, Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have called for calm. “We don’t think there will be an intense war against Ukraine, and Russia will escalate further,” the president said on Tuesday, adding that his government would do everything possible to prevent that from happening. .
“I am grateful to the Ukrainians for keeping their composure and calm despite the inner anxiety. Panic in Ukraine is only necessary for the aggressor state,” Oleksandr Tkachenko, culture minister and longtime Zelensky ally, wrote on social media.