Russia’s Putin announces ‘military operation’ in Ukraine – World

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday drew the outrage of US President Joe Biden, who warned of a “catastrophic loss of life” after explosions were heard in the capital and other areas.

Weeks of fierce diplomacy and Western sanctions have failed to stop Putin, who has gathered between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.

He made a surprise statement on TV just before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT), saying, “I have decided on a military operation.”

Putin has warned other countries that any attempt to sabotage Russia’s actions will have consequences they have not seen.

He accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and ensure security in Moscow. He said he wanted the “demilitarized” of the former Soviet state, but not the occupation.

Putin said all Ukrainian soldiers who put down their weapons will be able to safely leave the fighting area.

“All responsibility for the bloodshed rests with the conscience of the Ukrainian regime,” Putin said.

Russia attacks Ukrainian military installations

Russia’s Defense Ministry says President Vladimir Putin is targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure with precision weapons after announcing military operations against Ukraine.

“The military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields and aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are being neutralized with high-precision weapons,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement delivered by Russian news agency.

Ukraine declares martial law

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Russia was attacking its “military infrastructure” and border guards, but urged citizens not to panic and vowed victory.

In a video message posted on Facebook after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation in Ukraine, Zelensky added that he also had a phone call with US President Joe Biden.

Immediately after Putin’s speech, an explosion was heard in a quiet place before Serb in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Gunfire rattled near the capital’s main airport. Interfax the carrier reported.

The explosion also shook the segregated city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, and civil aircraft were warned.

AFP Correspondents also heard explosions in the Black Sea port city of Odessa.

The explosion also occurred in the large city of Kharkiv, 35 kilometers south of the Russian border.

Four major explosions occurred in Kramatorsk, a front-line city serving as the effective capital of the Ukrainian government on the eastern war zone, and more were heard in the eastern port city of Mariupol. AFP reporters said

The scope of the Russian military operation was not immediately clear. Moscow has long denied that it has plans to invade, despite gathering tens of thousands of troops near its neighbors.

‘Unprovoked and unjustified attack’

U.S. President Joe Biden said the Ukrainian people are praying with the Ukrainian people “while under unjust and unjust attack by Russian forces.”

“President Putin has chosen a planned war that will result in devastating loss of life and suffering. Only Russia is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond unitedly and decisively. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

He said he would announce additional sanctions on Russia on Thursday, along with fiscal measures imposed this week.

Operation Russia began when the UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis in New York.

A draft resolution calling on Moscow for its actions toward its neighbors is doomed to fail due to Russia’s veto, but a Security Council diplomat said Russia would warn it “not complying with international law”.

Ukrainian president appeals to Russia

Putin’s statement on Thursday came after the Kremlin said rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine had asked Moscow for military aid to Kiev.

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional late-night appeal to Russians not to support “a large-scale war in Europe.”

Zelensky said in Russian that the Russian people are lying about Ukraine and that the possibility of war “is up to you”.

“Who can stop (war)? people. These people are among you. I am sure,” he said.

Zelensky said he tried to call Putin, but there was no answer, there was only silence, adding that Moscow now has about 200,000 soldiers near the border with Ukraine.

Earlier, Separatist leaders in Donetsk and Lugansk had sent a separate letter to Putin “to help us defeat the Ukraine aggression,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Both letters were published by Russian state media, both dated February 22.

Their appeal came after Putin recognized their independence and signed a friendship treaty that included a defense deal.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are stationed near the Ukrainian border, and the West has said an attack is imminent for days.