Russia has begun a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine and demanded Kyiv’s army lay down its weapons, starting what could be the largest conflict in Europe since the second world war.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Russia is carrying out a full-scale offensive from multiple directions and that Ukrainian forces are resisting the attack.
“No, this is not a Russian invasion only in the east of Ukraine, but a full-scale attack from multiple directions,” Kuleba said on Twitter.
“Ukraine stands with both feet on the ground & continues to defend itself,” he added.
Russian forces are trying to penetrate into Ukraine’s Kyiv region and its Zhytomyr region on the Belarusian border, Ukrainian border officials say.
The officials said Russia was using Grad rocket systems as part of its assault, and claimed that Russian helicopters had attacked a military airport near Kyiv.
Ukrainian forces shot down three of the helicopters involved in the attack on the facility, the officials added.
An adviser to Ukraine’s president says about 40 people have been killed so far amid Russia’s invasion.
Oleksii Arestovich, Zelenskyy’s aide, also said that several dozen people have been wounded. He did not specify whether the casualties included civilians.
At 04.50LT, Putin announced on TV that he had ordered a military operation in the Donbass.
The Russian President also threatened “those who may be tempted to intervene” on Ukraine’s behalf, sending a clear message to NATO.
“Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside,” Putin said. “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.”
Videos of tanks, helicopters and aircraft have also been circulated, along with the first images of weapons debris and wreckage.
Air raid sirens were heard in major Ukrainian towns across the country, including the capital Kyiv and Lviv, where some US diplomats had relocated because of the threat that the attack could hit the capital. Explosions were reported also in Mariupol, Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnippo, where airports were closed.
In a matter of a few hours, the Russian MOD claimed the Ukrainian air defense had been neutralized.
However, according to their Ukrainian counterparts, the Russians suffered some losses in the process. Among the aircraft listed as shot down by the Ukrainian air defense, there was also a Su-24 Fencer attack jet.
In our next article, we will share details about the losses on both sides in the conflict.