Russia launches full-scale invasion against Ukraine

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Map of the initial Russian attacks on Ukraine as of February 24, 2022.
Image: User:Homoatrox.

Russian troops began an invasion of Ukraine by firing missiles at several cities yesterday.

On state television, Russian President Vladimir Putin described this as the beginning of a "special military operation" in Ukraine with the aim of "the demilitarization and de-nazification of Ukraine" at 06:00 in Moscow, 03:00 UTC. After this announcement, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky imposed martial law nationwide.

Explosions of Russian missiles were heard in cities Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Odesa and in the Donbas region with the aim of destroying Ukrainian military command centres. Gunfire was also heard near Boryspil International Airport, Kyiv's main airport, and sirens were heard throughout the city.

Putin said that Russia had been left with no choice but to defend itself against what he described were threats from Ukraine after Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk sent a plea to Moscow to help stop alleged Ukrainian aggression. The claim was dismissed by the United States as Russian propaganda.

On Monday, Russia passed a bill recognizing the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine as independent states, followed by agreements of friendship, cooperation, and assistance with the republics.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres made a plea to Putin to stop the war "in the name of humanity" after Putin announced the military operation.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the West will respond "decisively" and that Putin had "chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction". The British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have also condemned the invasion, Truss adding they will "use every lever at our disposal to stop [Putin] in his tracks" and "nothing is off the table".

US President Joe Biden condemned the attack as "unprovoked and unjustified", adding that he will be meeting with G7 leaders today, and asserting the US and allies "will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia".

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also condemned the attack as "unjustified" and added that the Kremlin would be held accountable.

Spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said "all parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war", criticizing "those parties who were busy condemning others" for a lack of a supposed reaction.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia's "reckless and unprovoked attack" on Ukraine and said NATO allies would meet to tackle the consequences of Moscow's "aggressive actions".