Updated Mar 19, 2022 - World

Zelensky warns war will cost Russia for "generations"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a speech on evaluation the 22nd day of the Russia-Ukraine war during virtually addressing in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 17, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes a virtual address in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 17. Photo: Ukrainian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Saturday that continuing its invasion would cost Russia for "generations," AP reports.

Driving the news: Zelensky said Russian President Vladimir Putin is deliberately creating "a humanitarian catastrophe," and urged Putin once again to meet with him to prevent more deaths, per AP.

  • "Picture for yourself that in that stadium in Moscow there are 14,000 dead bodies and tens of thousands more injured and maimed," Zelensky said in remarks after Moscow held a pro-war rally.
  • "Those are the Russian costs throughout the invasion," Zelensky said.

The big picture: During a Friday rally to mark the eighth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, Putin touted his country's military forces and invoked patriotic messaging, including by playing the song, "Made in the U.S.S.R.," per AP.

  • "We have not had unity like this for a long time," Putin told the crowd of approximately 200,000 people, though that number has not been confirmed.
  • Putin's remarks — in which he insisted that his actions in Ukraine were to prevent "genocide" — come as Russians are increasingly facing authoritarian rule at home, with thousands of antiwar protesters having been detained.

Zelensky on Saturday also urged Switzerland to crack down on Russian oligarchs who he said are assisting the war in Ukraine from the safety of "beautiful Swiss towns," Reuters reports.

  • "Your banks are where the money of the people who unleashed this war lies. That is painful," Zelensky said via a translator to an anti-war protest in Bern.
  • "Ukrainians feel what it is when cities are destroyed. They are being destroyed on the orders of people who live in European, in beautiful Swiss towns, who enjoy property in your cities. It would really be good to strip them of this privilege."
  • Neutral Switzerland has adopted sanctions against Russia in line with those imposed by the European Union, Reuters reports, including a freeze on Russian central bank assets.

Go deeper: "Kyiv mayor: Russians missiles hit residential neighborhood with preschool"

Editor's note: This story has been updated with information on Zelensky's remarks to Switzerland.

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