Russia launches full-scale invasion of Ukraine
Kyiv, February 24: Following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the country's troops have started their anticipated attack on Ukraine, despite international condemnation and sanctions.
According to local sources, loud explosions were heard before dawn in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and other big cities like Kharkiv and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of an invasion that could cause massive casualties as well as humanitarian and refugee crisis, topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government and threaten the post-Cold War balance on the continent.
The Ukrainian Border Guard said Russian military vehicles have entered Ukraine through Crimea.
Earlier the day, in an address on national television, Putin announced military action in Donbas, urging Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and go home, according to state-run news agencies RIA-Novosti and TASS.
"I have made the decision of a military operation," Putin said in Moscow.
Putin warned that all responsibility for any potential bloodshed will be on the conscience of the Ukrainian government, and said he was confident Russian service members will fulfill their duty.
Putin earlier had recognized the independence of pro-Russian rebel-held self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics of eastern Ukraine.
According to Sputnik, Putin has directed Russian forces to conduct a special operation in the Donbass region, according to February 24 remarks from the Russian president. Putin declared that he expects consolidated Parliamentary support for the operation in the Donbass region.
Sputnik report said Putin remarked that the NATO-allied war machine supporting 'Neo-Nazis' in Ukraine is moving and closely approaching Russia's borders. He emphasized that Russia, for the past 30 years, has been attempting to negotiate NATO non-expansion to the east, despite being faced with deceit and blackmail.
US President Joe Biden called the action an "unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces".
"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine," he said.
"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," he said.
He said Russia alone is responsible "for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way."
"The world will hold Russia accountable," said Biden.
Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 24, 2022
The world will hold Russia accountable.
He says he will be monitoring the situation from the White House and will meet with G7 leaders in the morning before announcing "further consequences" for Russia.
Biden says there will be a "strong, united response" from Nato allies that deters any aggression against its members.
Moscow had earlier massed more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine and had sent the military personnel to exercises in neighbouring Belarus amid rising fears that it could invade Ukraine any moment.