Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine

World
Thu, 24 Feb 2022 6:42 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Donbas, which contains two separatist-held regions of Ukraine he declared independent this week. CNN reporters and witnesses in cities across Ukraine have reported hearing expl...
Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Donbas, which contains two separatist-held regions of Ukraine he declared independent this week.

CNN reporters and witnesses in cities across Ukraine have reported hearing explosions in the early hours of Thursday.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appeal for peace to Russian citizens, saying they were not enemies — but that Kyiv would defend itself against any invasion. He said he had tried to call Putin on Wednesday but was unsuccessful.

China's ambassador to the UN calls all parties to "stay cool headed"

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, called on all parties involved in the Ukraine-Russia crisis to “stay cool headed and rational.”

“It is especially important at the moment to avoid fueling tensions,” Zhang said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday night.

“All parties concerned should exercise restraint and avoid the further escalation of tensions,” he said, adding that China believes the “door to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue is not fully shut.”

“China will continue to promote peace talks in its own ways and welcomes and encourages all efforts aimed at a diplomatic solution,” Zhang said.

NATO chief condemns Russia's "reckless attack" on Ukraine

In a tweet early Thursday morning, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia's "reckless attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives."

“This is a grave breach of international law & a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. NATO Allies will meet to address Russia’s renewed aggression," Stoltenberg added.

Biden and Zelensky are currently speaking

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are currently speaking, according to a White House official.

UN secretary general urges Putin to stop "what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century"

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (UNTV)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring his troops back to Russia and stop "what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century."

Speaking after a UN Security Council meeting late on Wednesday, Guterres warned Putin that Russian military action could not only be "devastating for Ukraine" and "tragic" for Russia "but with an impact we can not even foresee in relation to their consequences for the global economy.”

“In a moment when we are emerging from Covid and so many developing countries absolutely need to have space for the recovery, which would be very, very difficult with the high prices of oil, with the exports of wheat from Ukraine and with rising interest rates caused by instability in international markets,” he added.

“This conflict must stop now.”

Guterres earlier opened his remarks at the stakeout with a somber statement: “This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary General of the United Nations,” he said.

Putin threatens "those who may be tempted to intervene" in Russia's military action

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had ordered military action in Ukraine early Thursday, he threatened "those who may be tempted to intervene" on Ukraine's behalf.

"Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside," Putin said. "Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard."

CNN teams on the ground have reported explosions around Ukraine and outside of the Donbas region in the country's east.

Russian troops have landed in Odessa and are crossing the border, Ukrainian official says

An adviser for the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, has told journalists on an official WhatsApp group that Russian troops have landed in the city Odessa and are crossing the border in the city of Kharkiv.

Gerashchenko added there have been missile strikes on the Vasilkovsky airfield near Kyiv.

He also said that Borys Filatov, the mayor of Dnipro, just called to say he was hearing explosions.

Ukrainian ambassador to the UN: It's "too late" for de-escalation

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya (UNTV via AP)

Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, warned it was "too late" for de-escalation at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Wednesday night, as he urged other countries to help stop the conflict.

“Because it’s too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation, too late,” he said. “The Russian president declared war."

Kyslytsya cited the UN charter and the stipulation that only peace-loving states would be admitted into the Security Council, and then asked the Russian ambassador to relinquish his role as council president.

Earlier Wednesday night, the Russian ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, defended Russia's military operation and denied that it was a "war," blaming the current tensions on Ukraine.

European aviation regulators warn civilian planes could get shot down over Ukraine

European aviation regulators say there is a “high risk” to civilian aircraft near the Ukrainian border, fearing they could be targeted on purpose at any altitude.

"Air operators are reminded that this is now an active conflict zone," says the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, known as EASA.

The agency added that “operators should exercise extreme caution” and avoid using the airspace within 100 nautical miles of the Russia-Ukraine border.

“Critical infrastructure, including airports, are exposed to military activities which result in safety risks for civil aircraft,” said the EASA. “The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a HIGH risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.”

Early US assessment is a full Russian invasion has begun, source says

The United States' early assessment of events underway in Ukraine is that this is the start of a full Russian invasion, according to a senior US official familiar with the latest US intelligence.

The source said the belief is that the explosions heard near Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and the Black Sea port city of Odessa are likely missiles, while the ones around the northeastern city of Kharkiv are likely artillery given its proximity to the Russian border.

Ukraine’s foreign minister tweets Putin has launched “full scale invasion of Ukraine”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted early on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir 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," he tweeted.

Ukrainian ambassador to the UN urges Security Council to "stop the war"

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya (UNTV)

The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations urged other member nations to "stop the war," at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

"It is the responsibility of this body to stop the war. So I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war," Sergiy Kyslytsya said to the council, before turning to face the Russian ambassador to the UN and asking: "Or should I play the video with your president declaring the war?"

The Russian ambassador responded, "This isn't called a war, this is called a special military operation in Donbas."

Early Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address that troops were taking military action in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

CNN reporters and witnesses in cities across Ukraine have reported hearing explosions in the early hours of Thursday.

US ambassador to UN says Putin's military operation is a "message of war"

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield (UNTV)

The US Ambassador to the United Nations said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “delivered a message of war” by announcing his military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

"In my remarks tonight, I said that we predicted Russia’s false flag attacks. The misinformation, the theatrical emergency meetings and cyber-attacks. But one piece had not come to pass. Unfortunately while we’ve been meeting in the Security Council tonight, it appears that President Putin has ordered that last step," said UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

"At the exact time as we are gathered in the council seeking peace, Putin delivered a message of war in total disdain for the responsibility for this council. This is a grave emergency. The council will need to act and we will put a resolution on the table tomorrow. As President Biden said tonight, Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring and the United States and our allies and partners will decide in a united and decisive way."

Ukraine's interior minister adviser: "Invasion has begun"

An adviser for the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, said early on Thursday morning that Russia’s “invasion has begun,” with “missile strikes on Kyiv.”

Gerashchenko added on his Facebook page that control centers such as airfields and military headquarters are being hit by the shelling in Kyiv and Kharkiv, and that there is artillery fire along the border.

Russian ambassador to UN defends military operation in emergency Security Council meeting

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya (UNTV)

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya, defended Russia's decision to take military action in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

"The root of today's crisis around Ukraine is the actions of Ukraine itself, who for many years were sabotaging its obligations under the (Minsk agreement)," said Nebenzya. He claimed that the Russian operation aimed to protect residents in the separatist pro-Moscow regions of eastern Ukraine, "who for eight years have been cowering from Ukraine's shelling."

He claimed that "Ukrainian provocation against those in Donbas not only has not stopped but has intensified," which prompted separatist leaders in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to request Russian assistance.

The US State Department has warned that Russia may use so-called false flags, including claims that Ukraine is attacking Donetsk, to justify an invasion.

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