Ukraine crisis: Russia invades Ukraine with explosions heard across the country as President Putin declares war

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin has declared war on Ukraine in a televised address this morning.

Thursday, 24th February 2022, 8:39 am
Updated Thursday, 24th February 2022, 8:39 am

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has announced a 'special military operation’ in Ukraine's Donbas region in a televised address this morning.

Explosions were heard in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, shortly after the address at around 6am and heavy clashes were reported in several major Ukrainian cities.

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Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to "consequences you have never seen."

In the address, President Putin warned the west that there would be 'consequences' over any attempted interference as he declared the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He stated: 'Our plans are not to occupy Ukraine, we do not plan to impose ourselves on anyone by force'.

President Putin claimed that the military operation aimed to ensure 'demilitarisation' of Ukraine, as well as to 'de-Nazify' the country as he said: ‘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.’

Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared an emotional address in the early hours of this morning as he warned Russia that Ukraine would protect itself and that tens of thousands of people could die in the conflict.

He said: ‘The Ukrainian people want peace, the government in Ukraine wants peace and is doing everything it can to build it.

‘If we are attacked, if someone attempts to take away our land, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves.’

He added: ‘When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.’

British prime minister Boris Johnson took to Twitter to share a statement.

He said: ‘I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps. President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

‘The UK and our allies will respond decisively.’

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A Downing Street spokesperson added that there will be a Cobra committee meeting this morning and that the prime minister ‘would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people.’

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, has also called an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council, with a press conference expected to be held in Brussels at 12pm local time.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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