Zelensky Did Not Order Ukrainian Troops To “Destroy Everything That Crosses Their Sights”
Some media headlines claiming that Ukrainian President Zelensky said “destroy everything that crosses your sights” are incorrect, i.e., it is something that Zelensky did not say in his speech
After Russia attacked Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech that was correctly reported by some Macedonian media, but some of them reported sensationalist headlines that were inaccurate, saying that Zelensky said: “Destroy everything that crosses your sights, Zelensky issues brave order to Ukrainian soldiers.” Such an example can be seen here, as well as here.
This exact part of the title, “destroy everything that crosses your sights” is something that Zelensky did not say. This is a free interpretation of his speech after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is untrue.
“Everything that crosses your sights” can be interpreted or understood in different ways, like that Zelensky calls for the “destruction” of unarmed soldiers withdrawing with their backs turned, something that is contrary to the Geneva Conventions.
What did Zelensky say actually?
Lieutenant-General Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that “the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave orders to inflict the maximum losses to the aggressor.” You can read the official statement here, on the website of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
In his speech, Zelensky called on the citizens of Ukraine to join the defence:
Anyone with military experience who can join Ukraine’s defense must come to the military offices at the Interior Ministry. Please be up to date with the latest information. We have wounded soldiers in hospitals who need blood donations. Please donate blood. We work seriously on the defense and every business or businessperson should help. Please take care of your workers and employees, all people should have available services and products. Ukraine’s banking system has all the necessary resources to protect the country and the interests of the Ukrainian citizens. I am grateful to all the politicians who support Ukraine and defend our sovereignty. We are all Ukrainian citizens and now we are defending our country. And we will fight for our country and we will support our country everywhere, in every city. The Armed Forces are ready to defend our country within the territorial defense framework. This morning, dear citizens, turned into history. A different history for our country and for Russia. We have cut diplomatic relations with Russia. Ukraine is now defending itself. We will not give up our independence. Independence and our right to live in our own country is of the highest value. They attacked our country early this morning, just like fascist Germany did in World War II. Today, the two countries are on different sides of history. The Russian Federation is on the side of evil. But the Russians will decide today which party they will side with. Those with conscience should oppose the war with Ukraine. I want to address Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens. I know this information is not allowed on your channels. They blocked it. The evil desire to destroy the Ukrainian nation can not be blocked. History cannot be deleted. Therefore, dear Ukrainian citizens, those of you that have relatives in Russia, I am sure you have them, friends, talk to them, tell them what is happening, let them know.
In a previous speech, Zelensky again did not use the phrase “destroy everything that crosses your sights”, but addressed the citizens of Ukraine, to remain calm and, if possible, to stay in their homes:
We are working, the army is working. The complete Security and Defense sector of Ukraine is working. I and the National Security Council as well as the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will address you regularly. Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat them all because we are Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine!
In an address to his nation early Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged citizens to remain calm after Russia started conducting airstrikes in the country.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 24, 2022
Due to the above-mentioned, we assess that some media headlines claiming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech and said “destroy everything that crosses your sights, Zelensky issues brave order to Ukrainian soldiers” are incorrect and contain disinformation.