On the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia has launched a massive military attack on Ukraine. There have been reports of attacks on Ukrainian military infrastructure and Russian convoys entering the country.
Mr Putin announced a “military operation” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas at 05:55 Moscow time (02:55 GMT). Many Russian-speaking Ukrainians live here. Since 2014, Russian-backed rebels have controlled parts of it.
Putin claimed Russia was acting in self-defence. That Russia only wanted to de-Nazify Ukraine.
He urged Ukrainian combatants to surrender and return home, but said clashes were inevitable and “only a matter of time”.
He also said that any outside intervention to stop the Russian attack would be met with a devastating response.
Loud bangs were heard in Kyiv and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region. Blasts have also been heard in Odesa, in the south.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched missiles at Ukrainian infrastructure and border guards.It was reported that Russia is targeting military infrastructure, air defence, and air forces with “high-precision weapons.”
Troops enter Ukraine
Tanks and troops have entered Ukraine’s eastern, southern, and northern borders, it says.
Russian military convoys crossed from Belarus into Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region and from Russia into Ukraine’s Sumy region, the DPSU said.
From Crimea, convoys have entered the Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, and into the Kherson region.
Artillery fire preceded the Russian offensive, the DPSU said.
Troops reportedly arrived by sea in the southern Black Sea ports of Mariupol and Odesa. Many people are leaving, an Odesa resident told the BBC.
Six civilians were killed in an airstrike in Brovary, near Kyiv. It also killed a man in shelling outside Kharkiv.
A presidential adviser in Ukraine said over 40 soldiers died, and dozens were wounded. Ukraine claimed 50 Russian casualties.
The Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down five Russian planes and a helicopter, which Russia denies.
Later on Thursday, President Zelensky said Ukraine had lost aircraft and armoured vehicles. So far, Russia has claimed over 70 military targets in Ukraine.
Much of the fighting appears to be in the east. But there have been clashes around Kyiv, Odesa, and Mariupol.
Ukraine has declared martial law, giving the military, temporary control. It has severed diplomatic ties with Russia and imposed an overnight curfew on Kyiv.
The country’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, urged the world to impose severe sanctions, including barring Russia from the international Swift bank transfer
Locals seek refuge
Expressways in Kyiv are clogged as people flee the city.
People are being rushed into bomb shelters and basements, according to social media accounts. People were seen praying in the streets on TV.
Many Kyiv residents sought refuge in metro stations. Long lines formed at gas stations and ATMs.
Residents seek refuge in metro stations
The BBC’s Eastern European Correspondent Sarah Rainsford said the assault surprised people in Kramatorsk.
“Last night, people in this city were waving the Ukrainian flag. They claimed it as theirs. They were killed, ,”she said.
“This is what everyone has been expecting, but no one here can believe it’s actually happening.”
For the first time in over a decade, oil prices surpassed $100. Meanwhile, the rouble hit a new low against the dollar and the euro. The FTSE 100 index fell over 200 points, or 2.7%, within minutes of opening.
People drove across fields to leave Kharkiv in the east.
The world slams
Trump’s ally, US Vice President Joe Biden, said Putin had “chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human He said he’d speak to Americans on Thursday about Russia’s repercussion
Putin’s “hideous and barbaric venture must fail,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. ” I cannot believe this is being done in your name, or that you really want the persona non grata status, it will bring the Putin regime,” he told Russians. He said the UK was “supported the Ukrainian side.”
“Countless civilian lives are at risk,” said Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
“This is Europe’s darkest hour since WWII,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. President Trump claims Mr Putin took advantage of American “weakness”. He told Fox News he didn’t think Putin “wanted to do this initially.” “It got worse and worse, and he saw the weakness,” Trump said.