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Ukrainian lawmaker makes emotional plea as Russia attacks Ukraine: "Please save our people"

Ukrainian lawmaker's plea for help
A Ukrainian lawmaker's plea for help 06:20

A Ukrainian lawmaker fought back tears during an interview with CBS News on Thursday as she made a plea to the world to help her country, which is now under attack by Russia. 

Ukrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko said from Kyiv that Ukrainians are in danger as Russian forces have bombed the country. 

"Please save the Ukrainian men, women and children ... Please save our people, dozens and maybe hundreds of people of mine are being murdered tonight," said Yanchenko, who is a 33-year-old mother of two children. 

The world is taking "too much time to think over what to do" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yanchenko said.

"He knows what he wants," she said. "He wants to invade our country and kill our people." 

President Biden has imposed sanctions, but on Thursday he ruled out blocking Russia's access to SWIFT, a system used by most large financial institutions to carry out international transactions. Yanchenko urged world leaders to do so.

"If you block Russia from SWIFT, it will really help because then Russian citizens will come out into the streets and ask Putin, what is he doing not only with the Ukraine, but with their own country." 

She said she woke up after hearing explosions around 5 a.m. Thursday and began telling people to take cover underground or in the subway. Even though Ukrainians are "horrified," she said they are "ready to protect their land." 

"We are here standing on our land, in our country, sovereign country," she said. 

A senior Ukrainian government official said early in the day that "dozens" of Ukrainian military forces had been killed in Russia's attack. An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops have taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after Ukrainian forces fought to defend it, according to reports.

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