Ukraine vows defiance as Russia launches main invasion

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Ukrainian officers mentioned greater than 40 troopers and as many as 10 civilians had been killed because the Russian invasion of Ukraine started shortly earlier than daybreak. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser within the President’s Workplace, mentioned a number of dozen troopers had additionally been injured and “so far as I do know, in the intervening time there are a number of civilian deaths — as much as 10.”

Russia’s invasion follows weeks of warnings from the USA and different Western powers that an assault in opposition to Ukraine was imminent — and weeks of denials by Moscow that it deliberate any such motion.

As air raid sirens rang out throughout the capital, Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky moved to enact martial legislation and authorities ministers accused Moscow of launching a “full scale invasion” that might be resisted.

Heavy visitors could possibly be seen clogging roads heading west out of the town as daybreak broke, whereas additional east, close to the Russian border, the mayor of Kharkiv urged residents to not go away their properties.

Here's what we know about how Russia's invasion of Ukraine unfolded

Ukraine’s International Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on his official web page that “peaceable Ukrainian cities are underneath strike” and known as the scenario “a conflict of aggression.” And an adviser to the Ukrainian Inside Minister, Anton Gerashchenko, informed journalists Russia’s “invasion has begun” with “missile strikes on Kyiv.”

CNN witnessed, via a livestream video, troops atop a column of army automobiles coming into Ukraine from a border crossing with Belarus. The livestream video was taken on the Senkivka, Ukraine crossing with Veselovka, Belarus. The column was seen coming into Ukraine at about 6:48 a.m. native time.

In current weeks, Russia has amassed a major variety of troops, automobiles and tanks in Belarus close to the border with Ukraine. The 2 international locations have held joint army workout routines throughout the international locations, and close to the Belarus-Ukrainian border.

CNN groups on the bottom heard explosions in and close to a number of Ukrainian cities, together with Kyiv, the second largest metropolis Kharkiv, Odessa, and distant firing from Zaporizhzhiya. Pictures launched by Zelensky’s workplace confirmed giant explosions to the east of the capital Kyiv with large columns of smoke rising into the air.

The Common Workers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces mentioned 5 Russian plane and a helicopter have been shot down early Thursday, claims Russia denied through state information company TASS.

An explosion is seen in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv early Thursday, February 24.

Hours earlier than, Putin introduced a army operation within the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine, which accommodates Donetsk and Luhansk, the separatist-held areas that Moscow acknowledged as impartial on Monday — in violation of worldwide legislation.

Within the deal with, broadcast stay on Russian nationwide tv, Putin urged Ukrainian forces to put down their arms and go dwelling, saying all accountability for attainable bloodshed can be completely on the conscience of the Ukrainian authorities.

“Our plans are to not occupy Ukraine, we don’t plan to impose ourselves on anybody,” he mentioned, however threatened “those that could also be tempted to intervene” on Ukraine’s behalf.

“Whoever tries to intrude with us, and much more so to create threats to our nation, to our folks, ought to know that Russia’s response will probably be fast and can lead you to such penalties as you’ve by no means skilled in your historical past,” he mentioned.

Earlier than the announcement of army motion, Zelensky appealed for peace however vowed “we are going to defend ourselves.”

In a second video message posted to his official Fb web page Thursday, Zelensky mentioned Russia “started an assault on Ukraine at present” and that Ukrainian forces had “already taken on the primary blow of the enemy and are resisting.”

“Putin started conflict in opposition to Ukraine, in opposition to all the democratic world. He needs to destroy my nation, our nation, all the things we have been constructing, all the things we live for,” he mentioned.

The launch of the Russian army operation got here at the same time as members of the UN Safety Council met in New York to name for a peaceable decision to the approaching disaster.

Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv  on February 24, 2022

What’s taking place on the bottom

Ukraine’s borders have been reportedly underneath assault from Russian forces to the north in Belarus and the south from Crimea, in response to the Ukrainian State Border Service.

Russian troops had attacked border models, patrol border and checkpoints with “artillery, heavy tools and small arms,” the border service mentioned.

Putin lashes out with ominous threat to Ukrainians and other countries

The Russian army claimed Ukraine’s border service “didn’t present any resistance” and claimed to have “suppressed” Ukraine’s air defenses. CNN was not capable of instantly confirm both of these claims.

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

The Russian army launched an announcement Thursday claiming it was not focusing on Ukrainian cities, saying “the civilian inhabitants shouldn’t be in danger.” 

“The Russian Armed Forces aren’t launching any missile or artillery strikes on the cities of Ukraine. Excessive-precision weapons destroy army infrastructure: army airfields, aviation, air protection services of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the assertion learn.

Local residents are seen refueling at a gas station in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine.

However regardless of the Russian army’s claims that civilians would not be focused, many selected to depart the capital. Kyiv residents had beforehand been informed to remain at dwelling and pack a bag with requirements, in case they wanted to depart abruptly.

Witnesses informed CNN that subway stations had grow to be improvised bunkers and have been full of individuals, with provides organized in teams.

Throughout the town, crimson arrows painted on partitions point out the places of the closest bomb shelters. Town first put them up after the conflict broke out within the east of the nation in 2014, however they have been lately repainted.

Earlier than Putin’s deal with, Russia issued a discover banning civil plane from flight routes bordering northeastern Ukraine. Individually, Ukrainian aviation authorities issued a discover proscribing Ukrainian airspace within the areas round Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa and Simferopol.

European aviation regulators warned civilian plane have been at “excessive threat” close to the Ukrainian border. “Air operators are reminded that that is now an energetic battle zone,” mentioned the European Union Aviation Security Company, often known as EASA.

A local resident sits in a car as they pack to leave Mariupol, eastern Ukraine.

Leaders condemn Russian motion

US President Joe Biden issued an announcement saying Russia had launched “an unprovoked and unjustified assault” on the Ukrainian folks, including that “the world will maintain Russia accountable.”

“These are among the many darkest hours for Europe because the finish of World Struggle II. A serious nuclear energy has attacked a neighbor nation and is threatening reprisals of another states that will come to rescue,” mentioned EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell in Brussels.

Why Putin's long-feared attack on Ukraine will rock America and the world

EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen promised to “weaken Russia’s financial base and its capability to modernize” following its “barbaric assault” in opposition to Ukraine. “We’ll freeze Russian belongings within the European Union and cease the entry of Russian banks to European monetary markets,” she mentioned.

Russian stocks crashed by greater than 40% Thursday after buying and selling resumed on the Moscow Inventory Change. The Russian ruble additionally dropped to an all-time low in opposition to the greenback and the euro.

Italy condemned Russia’s assault on Ukraine, calling it “unjustified and unjustifiable.” In an announcement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi mentioned Italy was “near the Ukrainian folks and establishments on this dramatic second.” He added that Italy was working with “European and NATO allies to reply instantly, with unity and dedication.”

Germany has pledged help to its neighboring international locations, together with Poland, within the occasion that Ukrainians flee because of the Russian motion.

“We’re following very intently whether or not there will probably be an inflow of refugees to our neighboring international locations,” Inside Minister Nancy Faeser mentioned in an announcement Thursday.

Germany “will present large assist to the affected states — particularly our neighbor Poland — ought to there be a large-scale inflow,” and stays in shut contact with Poland and the EU Fee, she mentioned.

Germany’s inside minister additionally mentioned the nation’s safety authorities had ramped up protecting measures to counter any cyberattacks.

CNN’s Helen Regan, Hada Messia and Nadine Schmidt contributed to this report.

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