Zelensky tells Ukrainians: "We will fight as long as it takes"
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a new and defiant video message Saturday night as curfew set in for Ukrainians in Kyiv, saying "we will fight as long as it takes to liberate the country. "
Driving the news: Zelensky also suggested Western allies were now prepared to cut off Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, a secure messaging service used by more than 11,000 banks and financial institutions throughout the world.
- The move has been under consideration for a while, though some European nations have expressed concern that disconnecting Russian banks' access to the primary system for global financial transactions would cause significant collateral economic damage.
- "Our diplomats fought around the clock to inspire all European countries to agree on a strong and fair decision to disconnect Russia from the international interbanking network," Zelensky said. "We also have this victory."
The big picture: A senior U.S. defense official told reporters earlier on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "more than 50% of his total assembled power now committed inside Ukraine," and that "tens of thousands" of troops have entered the country in the last 24 hours.
- The official added that there are indications Russia did not anticipate this level of Ukrainian resistance and has had to commit more logistics and supplies, such as fuel, than initially planned.