Putin declares a army operation within the Donbas area of Ukraine

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Putin’s announcement, broadcast Thursday at 5 a.m. native time in Ukraine, prompted quick condemnation from the US and its allies, which have threatened to enact “full scale” sanctions within the occasion of Russian army motion.

Ukraine International Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on his official web page that “peaceable Ukrainian cities are underneath strikes” and known as the scenario “a struggle of aggression.”

An adviser for the Ukraine Inside Minister, Anton Gerashchenko, instructed journalists Russia’s “invasion has begun” with “missile strikes on Kyiv,” the capital

Gerashchenko mentioned troops had landed within the metropolis of Odessa and have been crossing the border in Kharkiv, the second-largest metropolis in Ukraine situated within the nation’s northeast. In a submit on his Fb web page, he additionally mentioned management facilities akin to airfields and army headquarters have been being hit by shelling in Kyiv and Kharkiv, and that there was artillery hearth alongside the border.

Hours earlier than, Putin introduced a army operation within the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine, which incorporates the separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk which Moscow acknowledged as impartial on Monday.

Within the handle, broadcast on Russian nationwide tv, Putin urged Ukrainian forces to put down their arms and go house, saying all accountability for attainable bloodshed shall be solely on the conscience of the Ukrainian authorities.

However he added: “Our plans are to not occupy Ukraine, we don’t plan to impose ourselves on anybody.”

Earlier than the announcement of army motion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for peace however vowed the nation would defend itself.

“We have now no want for one more Chilly struggle, or a bloody struggle, or a hybrid struggle,” Zelensky mentioned. “But when we’re attacked militarily, if they struggle to remove our freedom, our lives, our kids’s’ lives, we’ll defend ourselves,” the Ukrainian President added, in a speech in Russian and directed at Russian residents.”Once you assault, you will notice our faces and never our spines, our faces.”

Following Putin’s handle, US President Joe Biden issued a press release saying Russia had launched “an unprovoked and unjustified assault” on the Ukrainian individuals.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated struggle that may convey a catastrophic lack of life and human struggling,” he mentioned. “Russia alone is accountable for the demise and destruction this assault will convey, and the US and its Allies and companions will reply in a united and decisive manner. The world will maintain Russia accountable.”

Reviews of explosions

After Putin’s announcement, CNN groups on the bottom in Russia and Ukraine heard blasts from a number of elements of Ukraine, together with close to the capital Kyiv and town of Odessa, and pictures launched by the workplace of President Zelensky confirmed massive explosions to the east of the capital Kyiv with large columns of smoke rising into the air.

A CNN group within the capital Kyiv reported explosions coming from the path of the worldwide airport, round 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of the middle of Kyiv. Social media accounts reported a number of explosions within the Boryspil space to the east of the capital, the place the worldwide airport is situated.

CNN has not confirmed that the airport has been focused.

A CNN group in Kharkiv, the second-largest metropolis in Ukraine situated within the nation’s northeast, heard a “regular stream of loud explosions.”

A group in Odessa heard two teams of explosions about 20 minutes aside, and one other group in southeastern Zaporizhzhia, which lies on the Dnieper River that cuts by way of the nation, heard no less than one very distant explosion. Two individuals in Kramatorsk instructed CNN that they’ve heard no less than two large explosions within the early hours of Thursday.

Earlier than Putin’s handle, Russia issued a discover banning civil plane from flight routes bordering north-eastern Ukraine. Individually, Ukrainian aviation authorities issued a discover proscribing Ukrainian airspace within the areas across the capital Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa and Simferopol.

European aviation regulators mentioned there’s a “excessive danger” to civilian plane close to the Ukrainian border, fearing they may very well be focused on objective at any altitude.

“Air operators are reminded that that is now an lively battle zone,” mentioned the European Union Aviation Security Company, often known as EASA.

In an obvious escalation in cyberattacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, a number of key Ukrainian web sites have been down as of three a.m native time on Thursday (8 p.m. ET Wednesday), together with these of Ukraine’s International Ministry, the Inside Ministry, the Safety Service in Ukraine, the Cupboard of Ministers, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Justice.

Navy operation comes as UN Safety Council meets

The army operation got here because the UN Safety Council had “gathered within the council in search of peace” Wednesday evening.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin had “delivered a message of struggle.”

“It is a grave emergency. The council might want to act,” she mentioned. “We are going to put a decision on the desk tomorrow.”

Her Ukrainian counterpart Sergiy Kyslytsya begged the safety council to assist cease a struggle, saying it is too late to discuss de-escalation.

“It’s the accountability of this physique to cease the struggle,” Kyslytsya mentioned. “So I name on each one in every of you to do every part attainable to cease the struggle,” he added, wanting across the room.

Everlasting Consultant of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzya mentioned the goal of Russia’s army operation in Donbas is to guard locals who’ve been “struggling genocide” by the hands of the Ukrainian authorities for over eight years.

“The route of as we speak’s disaster round Ukraine is the actions of Ukraine itself, who for a few years have been sabotaging its obligations underneath the Minsk package deal of measures,” mentioned Nebenzya.

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