In the early hours of Thursday, Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions, also warning other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”
It was reported that big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of a Russian invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced martial law, saying Russia has targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure and explosions are heard across the country. Zelenskyy said he had just talked to President Joe Biden and the U.S. was rallying international support for Ukraine. He also urged Ukrainians to stay home and not to panic
It was also gathered Biden has pledged new sanctions meant to punish Russia for an act of aggression that the international community had for weeks anticipated but could not prevent through diplomacy.
According to the report, Putin justified it all in a televised address, asserting the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine which the U.S. sees it has a false claim, and predicted that he would make as a pretext for an invasion. He accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees and credulously claimed that Russia doesn’t intend to occupy Ukraine but will move to “demilitarize” it and bring those who committed crimes to justice.
In a statement written by Joe Biden, he condemned the “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine and promised the U.S. and its allies “will hold Russia accountable.” and said he planned to speak to Americans on Thursday after a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders. More sanctions against Russia were expected to be announced Thursday.
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It was stated that the Russian military said it has struck Ukrainian air bases and other military assets and that they didn’t attack populated areas. The Russian Defense Ministry statement said the military is using precision weapons to target Ukrainian air bases, air defense assets, and other military infrastructure. It claimed that “there is no threat to the civilian population.”
Beyond casualties that could overwhelm Ukraine’s government, it was said that the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, will affect the energy supplies in Europe, jolting global financial markets and threatening the post-Cold War balance on the continent.
Anticipating international condemnation and countermeasures, it was gathered that Putin warned other countries not to meddle, saying, “whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people, must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history.”
Putin also urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.”
It was gathered that the Ukrainian Zelenskyy said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian citizens, “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace, but if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”
Zelenskyy said he asked to arrange a call with Putin late Wednesday, but the Kremlin did not respond.
In an apparent reference to Putin’s move to authorize the deployment of the Russian military to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine, it was said that Zelensky warned that “this step could mark the start of a big war on the European continent.”
He said, “Any provocation, any spark could trigger a blaze that will destroy everything.”
He also challenged the Russian propaganda claims, saying that “you are told that this blaze will bring freedom to the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free.”
Late Wednesday, it was reported that the Ukrainian lawmakers has approved a decree that imposes a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days starting Thursday. The measure allows authorities to declare curfews and other restrictions on movement, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations “in the interests of national security and public order.”
The action reflected increasing concern among Ukrainian authorities after weeks of trying to project calm. The Foreign Ministry advised against travel to Russia and recommended that any Ukrainians who are there leave to leave Russia immediately.
It was reported that another wave of distributed-denial-of-service attacks hit Ukraine’s parliament and other government and banking websites on Wednesday, and cybersecurity researchers said unidentified attackers had also infected hundreds of computers with destructive malware.
Officials have long said they expect cyberattacks to precede and accompany any Russian military incursion, and analysts said the incidents hew to a nearly two-decade-old Russian playbook of wedding cyber operations with real-world aggression.
It was said that even before Putin’s announcement, dozens of nations imposed sanctions on Russia, further squeezing Russian oligarchs and banks out of international markets.