The invasion of Ukraine at the hands of Vladimir Putin has commenced.
According to the Associated Press, Russia launched a wide-ranged attack on Ukraine, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling. Civilians have been piling into trains and cars in attempts to flee the areas and Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war.”
President Vladimir Putin deflected global condemnation and cascading new sanctions and instead turned to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Putin threatened any foreign country that attempts to interfere that there would be “consequences you have never seen.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law.
In Washington D.C., President Joe Biden convened a meeting of the National Security Council today to discuss Ukraine as the U.S. prepares for new sanctions. Biden administration officials have signaled that two of the measures they were considering most strongly include hitting Russia’s biggest banks and slapping on new export controls meant to starve Russia’s industries.
The first attacks came first from the air and then there were ground invasions in multiple regions. Border guards have released footage showing a line of Russian military vehicles that have crossed Ukraine’s territory. The country’s airspace has been declared as an active conflict zone.
Ukraine’s military chief Valerii Zaluzhyni has said his troops were fighting Russian forces just 4 miles from the capital in Hostomel.
According to the Associated Press, reporters who were on sight said there were explosions at the capital, in Mariupol. Ukraine’s armed forces said that they shot down multiple Russian aircraft and reported at least 40 soldiers dead, and a military plane carrying 14 people crashed South of Kyiv.
In an overnight televised address, Putin justified his actions, saying that the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, a false claim, and accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.
In a statement made yesterday by the White House, Biden made a statement saying, “I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security. We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”
He added, “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
President Joe Biden made another statement earlier today via The White House regarding a phone call he had with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine saying, “President Zelenskyy reached out to me tonight and we just finished speaking. I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council. He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with leaders of the G7, and the United States and our Allies and partners will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia. We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian people.”
A statement by President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy via president.gov.ua said, “The state of Ukraine severed diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation, which treacherously attacked at 5 a.m. on February 24th.”
“This morning has gone down in history, but this story is completely different for our country and for Russia. We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia. Ukraine is defending itself and will not give up its freedom, no matter what Moscow thinks. For Ukrainians, independence and the right to live on their land according to their will is the highest value. Russia treacherously and self-destructively attacked our state in the morning. Just like Nazi Germany did during the Second World War,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
He went on to say, “Today, the citizens of Russia will choose which way each of them personally is on.” and called on all Russian citizens who have not yet “lost their conscience” to come out and protest against this war with Ukraine.