Russian forces have unleashed missile attacks in Ukraine on the orders of Vladimir Putin who announced a “special military operation” at dawn.
This comes after sanctions from the US against Russia as world leaders have predicted the tension between Russia and Ukraine could spark a deadly war in Europe since 1945.
After a few minutes of Putin’s televised address, at about 5am Ukrainian time, explosions were heard near major cities in Ukraine including the capital, Kyiv.
The Interior Ministry has reported that the country is under attack from cruise and ballistic missiles. The attack, according to reports, was targeted at some major cities in Ukraine such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Dnipro.
A senior advisor at the interior ministry has predicted the Russian troops will attack soon after the missile attack and they will start their attack from Kharkiv which is about 20 miles from the border.
The missiles were launched at dawn and it brightened the skies from videos that have gone viral.
In the middle of the night, Air raid sirens were sounded announcing the attack. Residents sought shelter at the metro city and it is one of many scenes that haven’t occurred in those cities since 1941.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine”.
He continued: “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.”
However, clarifying reasons for launching an attack on Ukraine’s major cities, Putin asserted “A hostile anti-Russia is being created on our historic lands.”
“We have taken the decision to conduct a special military operation,” despite it escalating into a full-landscape war.
This, he said, is to “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, echoing a theme of Kremlin propaganda, the false claim that the Kyiv government is controlled by the far right.
“And 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,” he said.
As Putin’s words were being broadcasted UN security council was holding an emergency meeting. UN secretary general, António Guterres, appealed to Putin to stop the war and allow peace to reign.
“President Putin – stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”
Joe Biden in a statement before the attack, prayed for Ukraine.
“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,” Biden said. “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.”
Other world leaders also condemned the invasion. “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskiy 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,” said Boris Johnson.
“We will hold the Kremlin accountable,” wrote Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU Commission, which had announced new sanctions against Moscow just hours before the attack.