Watch: Russia attacks Ukraine as defiant Putin warns US, NATO

A Ukrainian soldier talks together with her comrades sitting in a shelter on the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory close to Svitlodarsk, jap Ukraine, Wednesday. (Evgeniy Maloletka, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 8-9 minutes

MOSCOW — Russian troops launched their anticipated assault on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin forged apart worldwide condemnation and sanctions, warning different international locations that any try to intrude would result in “penalties you will have by no means seen.”

Huge explosions had been heard earlier than daybreak in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa as world leaders decried the beginning of an Russian invasion that might trigger huge casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected authorities.

U.S. President Joe Biden pledged new sanctions meant to punish Russia for an act of aggression that the worldwide neighborhood had for weeks anticipated however couldn’t stop by diplomacy.

Putin justified all of it in a televised deal with, asserting the assault was wanted to guard civilians in jap Ukraine — a false declare the U.S. had predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion. He accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to stop Ukraine from becoming a member of NATO and provide Moscow safety ensures, and credulously claimed that Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine however will transfer to “demilitarize” it and convey those that dedicated crimes to justice.

Biden in a written assertion condemned the “unprovoked and unjustified assault” on Ukraine and he promised the U.S. and its allies “will maintain Russia accountable.” Biden mentioned he deliberate to talk to Individuals on Thursday after a gathering of the Group of Seven leaders. Extra sanctions in opposition to Russia had been anticipated to be introduced Thursday.

Ukraine’s Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the motion as a “full-scale invasion of Ukraine” and a “battle of aggression,” including, “Ukraine will defend itself and can win. The world can and should cease Putin. The time to behave is now.”

The Russian army mentioned it has struck Ukrainian air bases and different army property and hasn’t focused populated areas. The Russian Protection Ministry assertion mentioned the army is utilizing precision weapons to focus on Ukrainian air bases, air protection property and different army infrastructure. It claimed that “there isn’t a menace to civilian inhabitants.”

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s inside minister, mentioned on Fb that the Russian army has launched missile strikes on Ukrainian army command amenities, air bases and army depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro.

After the preliminary explosions in Kyiv, individuals might be heard shouting within the streets. However then a way of normality returned, with vehicles circulating and folks strolling within the streets as a predawn commute gave the impression to be beginning in relative calm.

Past casualties that might overwhelm Ukraine’s authorities, the results of the battle and ensuing sanctions levied on Russia might reverberate all through the world, affecting vitality provides in Europe, jolting world monetary markets and threatening the post-Chilly Conflict stability on the continent.

Asian inventory markets plunged and oil costs surged after the army motion acquired underway. Earlier, Wall Road’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.8% to an eight-month low after the Kremlin mentioned rebels in jap Ukraine requested for army help

Anticipating worldwide condemnation and countermeasures, Putin issued a stark warning to different international locations to not meddle, saying, “whoever tries to impede us, not to mention create threats for our nation and its individuals, should know that the Russian response will likely be instant and result in the results you will have by no means seen in historical past.”

Putin urged Ukrainian servicemen to “instantly put down arms and go residence.”

In a stark reminder of Russia’s nuclear energy, Putin warned that “nobody ought to have any doubts {that a} direct assault on our nation will result in the destruction and horrible penalties for any potential aggressor.” He emphasised that Russia is “probably the most potent nuclear powers and in addition has a sure edge in a spread of state-of-the-art weapons.”

Although the U.S. on Tuesday introduced the repositioning of forces across the Baltics, Biden has mentioned he won’t ship in troops to battle Russia.

Putin introduced the army operation after the Kremlin mentioned rebels in jap Ukraine requested Russia for army help to assist fend off Ukrainian “aggression,” an announcement that the White Home mentioned was a “false flag” operation by Moscow to supply up a pretext for an invasion.

Putin’s announcement got here simply hours after the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his nation poses a menace to Russia and made a passionate, last-minute plea for peace.

“The individuals of Ukraine and the federal government of Ukraine need peace,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned in an emotional in a single day deal with, talking in Russian in a direct attraction to Russian residents. “But when we come underneath assault, if we face an try to remove our nation, our freedom, our lives and lives of our youngsters, we’ll defend ourselves. While you assault us, you will notice our faces, not our backs.”

Zelenskyy mentioned he requested to rearrange a name with Putin late Wednesday, however the Kremlin didn’t reply.

If we come underneath assault, if we face an try to remove our nation, our freedom, our lives and lives of our youngsters, we’ll defend ourselves. While you assault us, you will notice our faces, not our backs.

–Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

In an obvious reference to Putin’s transfer to authorize the deployment of the Russian army to “keep peace” in jap Ukraine, Zelenskyy warned that “this step might mark the beginning of a giant battle on the European continent.”

“Any provocation, any spark might set off a blaze that may destroy every thing,” he mentioned.

He challenged the Russian propaganda claims, saying that “you’re advised that this blaze will deliver freedom to the individuals of Ukraine, however the Ukrainian persons are free.”

At an emergency assembly of the U.N. Safety Council referred to as by Ukraine due to the upcoming menace of a Russian invasion, members nonetheless unaware of Putin’s announcement appealed to him to cease an assault. U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres opened the assembly, simply earlier than the announcement, telling Putin: “Cease your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace an opportunity. Too many individuals have already died.”

NATO Secretary-Normal Jen Stoltenberg issued an announcement saying he strongly condemns “Russia’s reckless and unprovoked assault on Ukraine, which places in danger numerous civilian lives. As soon as once more, regardless of our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to have interaction in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the trail of aggression in opposition to a sovereign and unbiased nation.”

Anxiousness about an imminent Russian offensive soared after Putin acknowledged the separatist areas’ independence on Monday, endorsed the deployment of troops to the insurgent territories and obtained parliamentary approval to make use of army power outdoors the nation. The West responded with sanctions.

Late Wednesday, Ukrainian lawmakers authorised a decree that imposes a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days beginning Thursday. The measure permits authorities to declare curfews and different restrictions on motion, block rallies and ban political events and organizations “within the pursuits of nationwide safety and public order.”

The motion mirrored growing concern amongst Ukrainian authorities after weeks of attempting to venture calm. The Overseas Ministry suggested in opposition to journey to Russia and advisable that any Ukrainians who’re there go away instantly.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby mentioned Wednesday the Russian power of greater than 150,000 troops arrayed alongside Ukraine’s borders is in a sophisticated state of readiness. “They’re able to go proper now,” Kirby mentioned.

Early Thursday, airspace over all of Ukraine was shut all the way down to civilian air site visitors, in response to a discover to airmen. A business flight monitoring web site confirmed that an Israeli El Al Boeing 787 flying from Tel Aviv to Toronto turned abruptly out of Ukrainian airspace earlier than detouring over Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. The one different plane tracked over Ukraine was a U.S. RQ-4B International Hawk unmanned surveillance airplane, which started flying westward early Thursday after Russia put in place flight restrictions over Ukrainian territory.

One other wave of distributed-denial-of-service assaults hit Ukraine’s parliament and different authorities and banking web sites on Wednesday, and cybersecurity researchers mentioned unidentified attackers had additionally contaminated a whole bunch of computer systems with damaging malware.

Officers have lengthy mentioned they count on cyberattacks to precede and accompany any Russian army incursion, and analysts mentioned the incidents hew to a virtually two-decade-old Russian playbook of marriage ceremony cyber operations with real-world aggression.

Even earlier than Putin’s announcement, dozens of countries imposed sanctions on Russia, additional squeezing Russian oligarchs and banks out of worldwide markets.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands at his position at the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory near Svitlodarsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. was ordering heavy financial sanctions against Russia, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated international law in what he called the "beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine."
A Ukrainian serviceman stands at his place on the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory close to Svitlodarsk, jap Ukraine, Wednesday. President Joe Biden introduced the U.S. was ordering heavy monetary sanctions in opposition to Russia, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated worldwide regulation in what he referred to as the “starting of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” (Picture: Evgeniy Maloletka, Related Press)

Biden allowed sanctions to maneuver ahead in opposition to the corporate that constructed the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline and in opposition to the corporate’s CEO.

Germany mentioned Tuesday that it was indefinitely suspending the venture, after Biden charged that Putin had launched “the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” by sending troops into the separatist areas. The pipeline is full however has not but begun working.

Even earlier than the Russian army assault on Ukraine started, the specter of battle had shredded Ukraine’s financial system and raised the specter of huge casualties, vitality shortages throughout Europe and world financial chaos.

European Union sanctions in opposition to Russia took impact, concentrating on a number of corporations together with 351 Russian lawmakers who voted for a movement urging Putin to acknowledge the insurgent areas and 27 senior authorities officers, enterprise executives and high army officers.

The Russian Overseas Ministry has shrugged off the sanctions, saying that “Russia has confirmed that, with all the prices of the sanctions, it is ready to decrease the harm.”

Contributing: Karmanau and Heintz reported from Kyiv. Angela Charlton in Paris; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Lorne Cook dinner in Brussels, Frank Bajak in Boston, Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed.


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