At 5 a.m., Thursday, in Ukraine time, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military occupation in the Donbas region (South East of Ukraine).
Ukraine foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, accused Putin of launching a full-scale invasion, though Putin is calling it a “special military operation”. Putin assures that Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine.
This comes after Putin recognized the two separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk (also known as Donbas) as independent. The separatists of Donbas formally asked for Putin’s help to repel Ukrainian and American efforts to impose full-scale sanctions.
“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Kuleba. “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.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plea’s of peace were unsuccessful as he imposed a nationwide state of emergency.
Within hours of Putin’s address, explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and the Boryspil airport.
Ukraine reported artillery attacks that were targeting structures and facilities near major cities like Kyiv. Air raid sirens ensued over the capital and Kharkiv, forcing residents to seek shelter in the city’s metro station, a scene that has not occurred in these cities since 1941.
Following the explosions, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement late Wednesday regarding the attack.
"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden stated, “The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces”.
Biden has spoken with Zelenskyy about taking the next steps to condemn Russia for their attacks.
Zelenskyy asked Biden to relay a message to the world leaders.
“He [Zelenskyy] asked me to call on leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine,” said Biden.
The first British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson also condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss the next steps… The U.K. and our allies will respond decisively,” Johnson said.
Ursula von Der Leyen, the head of the EU commission upheld the leaders’ of the world's united demeanor in a written announcement.
“We will hold the Kremlin accountable”.
Zelensky kept his cool as he tried to calm Ukrainian nerves.
“No panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything.”
Not even Putin’s chilling warning to other nations has disrupted their united front, which is as follows:
“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.”
The dramatic escalation of the invasion is the second time Russia launches a significant attack on Ukraine since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.