Russia launched a large-scale military operation against Ukraine early Thursday morning, it said, to defend people “from abuse” and genocide” by the Ukrainian government, an action that has already drawn international condemnation.
The Ukrainian government has said that it will defend itself against this aggression and President Joe Biden has promised Ukraine “international aid”.
These are the most important events so far:
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation in eastern Ukraine that he justified in protecting people from “abuses and genocide” that he said they have been subjected to by the Ukrainian government for eight years.
“The people’s republics of Donbas approached Russia with a request for help. In connection with this (…) I made a decision to conduct a special military operation. Its goal is to protect people who are subjected to abuse, genocide from the Kiev regime for eight years, and for this, we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and bring to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals,” Putin said in a televised speech.
Putin noted that Russia does not plan the occupation of Ukrainian territories, but supports the right of the peoples of Ukraine to self-determination.
Belarusian military has helped Russia during attacks that “suffered the Ukrainian state border” this morning, the Ukrainian Border Service reported today.
The attacks by Russian troops “with the help of Belarus” have taken place with artillery, heavy equipment and shooting weapons, the body said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The Russian Armed Forces claimed to have neutralized Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defense and destroyed the infrastructure of the country’s airbases as part of the military operation launched by Moscow.
“The anti-aircraft defense means of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been neutralized. The infrastructure of the Ukrainian Army’s air bases is out of service,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement quoted by the Interfax agency.
The Ukrainian government assures that Ukraine will defend itself against the large-scale invasion that Russia has announced and that it will defeat the enemy.
“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under attack. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba wrote in a tweet.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, reported this morning of Russian attacks against the infrastructure of the country’s Armed Forces.
“Russia has launched attacks against our military infrastructure and border guards, ” Zelensky said in a video posted on his Telegram account. Zelensky today activated martial law throughout the country following the start of Russia’s military operation.
At the UN Security Council in New York, Russia justified its decision to intervene in Ukraine due to the alleged “provocations” of Kiev and the situation of the population of Donbas, and stressed that it does not seek an “occupation” of the neighboring country.
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasili Nebenzia, stressed that the objective of this “special operation” is “to protect people who have been suffering genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years” and “demilitarize” Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities today recommended their population to evacuate the territory of Donbas in the face of the massive Russian attack and the military operation launched by the separatist militias.
“We recommend residents of the Lugansk region to immediately leave the region,” Sergei Gaiday, head of the Lugansk regional administration, said on his Facebook page.
Ukraine today ordered the closure of its airspace after the start of the military operation launched by Russia in the country.
“Due to the high risk of aviation safety for civil aeronautics, the closure of Ukraine’s airspace for civil flights is decreed (…),” the State Enterprise of Air Traffic Services of Ukraine said in a statement.
Russia has closed airspace to civil aircraft from Thursday on its western border with Ukraine and Belarus, according to a notice issued by Russian aviation authorities.
This decision was made due to the great threat to the flight safety of civil aircraft after Russia launched its large-scale military operation in Ukraine. According to the official TASS agency, the Rostov air zone will be closed until March 2.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reported this Thursday that it classifies Ukraine as an active conflict zone since its airspace and infrastructure are affected by hostilities that pose a risk to the safety of civil aviation.
In a statement sent by the organization, based in Germany, EASA told airlines that Ukraine is now an active conflict zone and that there is a risk “that civil aircraft are deliberately targeted or misidentified.”
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelensky, assured that he had spoken by telephone with his colleague from the United States, Joe Biden, and said that he had promised him “international support”.
President Joe Biden has accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin of launching an “unprovoked and unwarranted” attack on Ukraine and wagering on a “premeditated war” that will result in “catastrophic loss of life and suffering. ” Biden responded in a brief but emphatic statement to Putin’s announcement of the start of a military operation in eastern Ukraine.
The US leader spoke tonight with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and promised him that he will work to obtain an international condemnation of the Russian attack, in addition to “severe sanctions” against Moscow for this military intervention.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on Russia to back down and stop its intervention in Ukraine while assuring that “this war makes no sense.”
“This is the saddest moment of my tenure as secretary-general of the United Nations,” Guterres said at the end of an emergency meeting of the Security Council, which he himself had opened by asking President Putin not to launch an offensive in Ukraine.
The European Union (EU) on Thursday condemned the “unjustified” Russian attack on Ukraine, expressed fear for civilians, and assured that it will hold the Kremlin “accountable” for it.
“We strongly condemn Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine,” the presidents of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council, Charles Michel, said in separate messages on their official Twitter accounts.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday “strongly” condemned Russia’s “unprovoked” attack on Ukraine, which he said risks “countless civilian lives,” and lamented that Moscow had chosen the “path of aggression.”
“I strongly condemn Russia’s reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts countless civilian lives at risk,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Thursday that “the West will not wait” while Russia attacks Ukraine, in a conversation with the president of this country, Volovímir Zelenski, after the start of the Russian offensive.
“The Ukrainian president briefed the prime minister on the attacks that are taking place, and the prime minister said the West would not stand by while President (Vladimir) Putin launches his campaign against the Ukrainian people,” a Downing spokesman said. Street, office of the head of government
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi condemned on behalf of his government Russia’s attack on Ukraine launched this morning and called it “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
“Italy is close to the Ukrainian people and institutions at this dramatic moment,” Draghi added in his statement sent to the media.
Wall Street was heading this Thursday to an opening with heavy losses as a result of the start of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which on the other hand triggered the price of oil.
The Dow Jones futures, which anticipate the movements of the main indicator of the New York Stock Exchange, fell more than 600 points, around 2% in reaction to Putin’s announcement and the information that came from Ukraine.
The Russian MOEX stock index has suspended all trading on the floor until further notice after Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine.
“The Moscow Stock Exchange has suspended trading in all its markets until further notice,” the stock manager reported in a brief statement.
The main indices of the stock markets of Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan plummeted today after the Russian president ordered the military operation in Ukraine.