Russia Bombs Ukraine As Putin Orders Full Invasion
On Thursday morning, February 24, Putin had had ordered a special military operation in Ukraine’s Donbas region and asked Ukrainian troops to put down their arms.
“I have made the decision of a military operation,” Putin said in a surprise television announcement shortly before 6:00am (0300 GMT) in Moscow.
He also called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms, claiming he wanted a “demilitarisation” of the former Soviet state but not its occupation.
Within minutes of Putin’s short televised address, explosions were heard near major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk and Mariupol.
Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that the country was under attack from cruise and ballistic missiles, with Russia appearing to target military infrastructure in early strikes with explosions reported at airfields, military headquarters and military warehouses.
Video of Russia invading Ukraine emerged on social media networks on Thursday morning. A clip showed explosions from artillery rockets lit up the night sky as shelling began near Mariupol.
A senior adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry said that it appeared Russian troops may soon move on Kharkiv, which is about 20 miles from the border. Locals in Kyiv sought safety in bomb shelters as explosions were heard outside the city.
Air raid sirens sounded over the capital and residents of Kharkiv sheltered in the city’s metro, scenes that haven’t been seen in those cities since 1941.
Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba said: “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes.
“This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
In a bid to justify the attack, Putin claimed “a hostile anti-Russia is being created on our historic landsWe have taken the decision to conduct a special military operation,” he said, in what amounted to a declaration of war.
He claimed it was for the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine, echoing a theme of Kremlin propaganda, the false claim that the Kyiv government is controlled by the far right.
“We do not intend to occupy Ukraine,” Putin said, and he had a chilling warning for other nations that any attempt to interfere will lead to “consequences you have never seen”.
“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside: if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me,” he said.
As Putin was speaking and the first detonations were being reported, the UN security council was holding an emergency session, chaired by Russia itself, which holds the rotating presidency.
It was begun by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, who made a direct appeal: “President Putin – stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died”.
Watch the video below:
As Russian forces launched a military assault in Ukraine, explosions have been seen in several Ukrainian cities throughout the night and into Thursday morning.
The Russian military says it has only targeted Ukrainian military assets ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/nwJrwxlCal
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) February 24, 2022
PRAY FOR UKRAINE. ALL LIFE MATTERS
Putin Israel China North Korea Trump Biden NATO Russsia WW3 WWIII pic.twitter.com/L2RlJEyYrt
— WW Tv (@WorldWarTV) February 24, 2022
Ukraine’s border guards have posted video of Russian forces entering the country from Crimea. pic.twitter.com/ejFo5QxmLn
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 24, 2022
Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia
There have been tensions between the two neighboring countries with concerns over threats of invasion. The crisis stems from the protracted Russia-Ukrainian war that began in early 2014.
Russia had annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and allegedly threw its weight behind a separatist rebellion after then-President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has denied plans to attack Ukraine, but about 140,000 Russian troops are positioned near its border with Ukraine and in Crimea.
Ukraine accused Russia of blocking its access to the sea as Russia has also sent warships into the Black Sea for naval exercises, raising fears of a potential blockade or invasion.
Britain, the US, France, and others have been trying to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in recent days, but little progress appears to have been made.
Last week, the UK and US Government asked their citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately amid the possibility of a military operation by Russia.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had also called on Nigerian citizens living in Ukraine to be security conscious over the alleged Russian invasion.