Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said in a tweet today that Russian warplanes have launched full-scale invasions of Ukraine, and are destroying the cities with weapons. In an article by Interfax Ukraine, it was reported that rockets had been fired at military facilities across Ukraine, and that Russian troops had landed in the southern ports of Odessa and Mariupol. A report has also informed that the staff and passengers at Kyiv’s Boryspil airport are evacuating it.
“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” said Kuleba in his tweet. He further said, “This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
Reports from Interfax indicate that forces from the Russian Black Sea Fleet are landing in the Sea of Azov and in the western port of Odessa. The news agency AFP has reported several explosions in Odessa. Explosions were heard in Kyiv as well, after which the mayor of the city advised residents to stay at home. There were also reports of power outages in some locations. In an emergency UN Security Council meeting late Wednesday, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya said that Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine targeted “the junta” in power in Kyiv. “I wanted to say in conclusion that we aren’t being aggressive against the Ukrainian people but against the junta that is in power in Kyiv,” he said.
In response to reports of explosions in Ukrainian territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia had fired missiles at Ukrainian infrastructure and border guards. He announced that martial law would be introduced throughout the country. The Ukrainian president also appealed that all citizens should stay at home.
A surprise television address by Russia’s president announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, on Thursday. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the action was a response to threats from Ukraine. Despite weeks of diplomatic pressure and sanctions imposed by the West, Putin has remained determined to maintain 150,000 to 200,000 troops along Ukraine’s border. AFP’s correspondents reported hearing explosions in Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities soon after the announcement. Sirens have also been heard in the centre of Kyiv.
“I have made the decision of a military operation,” said Putin in a statement, shortly before 6 am (0300 GMT). He urged Ukraine’s military to “lay down its arms”, and said that such servicemen would be able to leave the fighting zone safely. During the announcement, Putin also said that Russia does not tolerate threats from Ukraine. The Russian president said that his country had no intention of occupying Ukraine, and warned other nations that their interference would have disastrous consequences. Putin claimed that the operation was meant to protect civilians and demilitarise Ukraine.
The Russian military has informed that it has destroyed Ukraine’s air bases, clarifying that it is “not attacking populated areas”. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence ministry has claimed in a tweet that its forces have shot down five Russian planes and one helicopter since Russia launched its military operations. It read, ““The combined forces [have given] a worthy rebuff to the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Military units are in their positions. The enemy suffers losses. Keep calm!”
Soon after the Russian leader ordered the military operation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Russian leader to stop the mobilisation of troops into Ukraine “in the name of humanity”.
“President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia,” said Guterres, speaking after an emergency meeting of the UNSC. He added that the economic repercussions of war would be devastating for Ukraine and far-reaching for the global economy.