Speaking to his security council Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian military to take control of their country and overthrow president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Putin's televised address, laden with historical inaccuracies, comes a day after Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine.
During the address, he told Ukraine's armed forces that it would be “easier for us" to agree with them than with “this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis that has settled in Kyiv and taken hostage the entire Ukrainian people."
Newsweek and Politico reported that Putin has frequently repeated the baseless claims that the Ukrainian government is a "Nazi" or "fascist" regime.
According to the news outlets, Zelenskyy is Jewish.
Putin went on to praise Russian troops for acting "courageously, professionally, heroically, fulfilling their military duty successfully and solving the most important task of ensuring the security of our people and our fatherland."
Putin's speech comes after the Kremlin said Russia had agreed to send a delegation to Belarus to talk with Ukrainian officials.
With the conflict entering its second day, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a tweet Friday morning that more than 50,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled the country, with most of them going to Poland and Moldova.
More than 50,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled their country in less than 48 hours — a majority to Poland and Moldova — and many more are moving towards its borders.
Heartfelt thanks to the governments and people of countries keeping their borders open and welcoming refugees.
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) February 25, 2022