Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an invasion of Ukraine, ordering Russian troops across the border and targeting major cities with ballistic missiles. Latest reports indicate casualties on both sides, and Ukraine is now officially under martial law. Locations across Ukraine report bombings, including the capital Kyiv, Chuhuiv, Kramatorsk, and Chornobaivka. In addition, infrastructure and airports have been attacked, such as Ozerne air base and Kulbakino airport.
Senator Marco Rubio (FL), the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Russia was launching a “full scale and comprehensive military assault throughout Ukraine.” He detailed that the attack involved “airborne and amphibious landings, missile strikes from air, ground and naval forces, electronic and cyber attacks and a large ground force to occupy a large swath of territory.”
“This is an act of war, an attack on sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a gross violation of the UN Statute and the fundamental norms and principles of international law,” said Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Oleg Nikolenko. He warned that Russian troops are presently engaged in strikes to “destroy the state of Ukraine, seize Ukrainian territory by force, and establish occupation control.” Nikolenko urged foreign governments to provide immediate support in the form of further sanctions and military equipment.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked world leaders to unite in opposing Putin and requested that all nations impose the heaviest possible sanctions against the Russian regime. He said that Vladimir Putin wants to “destroy” the Ukrainian state. The commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny, said, “The supreme commander the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave orders to inflict maximum losses against the aggressor.”
The Russian leader was swift to frame his actions as a response to Ukrainian antagonism. “I have decided to conduct a special military operation … to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide,” Putin said. “We will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.” He continued, “Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine … All responsibility for bloodshed will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine.”
“Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything by force,” Putin concluded.
President Joe Biden released a statement reacting to news of the invasion. He wrote:
“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. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. 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.”
The president noted that he would today (Thursday, Feb. 24) be meeting with G7 counterparts and NATO partners to “ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance.” Mr. Biden is expected to make a public address later in the day. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv sent out an urgent message, saying:
“There are reports of Russian attacks on targets in a number of major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Mariupol. U.S. citizens in Ukraine are advised to shelter in place.”
In addition to the strikes across Ukraine, there appears to be a concerted effort to muddy the waters of what is actually happening on the ground; perhaps part of a larger propaganda initiative.
Conflicting reports about casualties and the success or failure of raids are being released. Ukrainian military authorities said that they have shot down at least five Russian planes and one helicopter, and yet Russia denies any such damages. Also, Russian forces claim they encountered no resistance at Ukrainian border points, whereas Ukraine says government forces killed “around 50 Russian occupiers.” A statement from the Russian military claimed that it had “suppressed” Ukraine’s air defenses.
Short pieces of footage are coming out across the internet that display troop and vehicle movement in a number of regions; however, the authenticity of such clips has yet to be verified and could be part of a broader disinformation campaign by the Russian command.
What Happens Next
As fighting continues, world leaders will be formulating a united response. Countries close to the conflict have asked NATO to trigger a consultation under Article 4 of the organization’s treaty, which states, “The Parties [NATO members] will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” While Ukraine is not part of NATO, the surrounding nations fear that the conflict could escalate further.
President Biden will continue speaking with other leaders to develop a coordinated response.
Liberty Nation will keep you updated on all the latest developments.
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