The war in Ukraine has become a fait accompli. The worst scenario has become a reality. In an emergency speech at dawn, the Russian president announced that he had approved the start of a military operation in the region. Before he even finished speaking, the invasion began!
Putin noted that “the purpose of the operation is to protect the population of the east of Ukraine,” and the conditions require decisive action on the part of Russia. He stated that the Russian government could no longer put up with threats from Ukraine and assured that the goal was not the occupation of Ukrainian territory. He demanded that the Ukrainian military lay down their arms and go home.
Explosions and shooting are heard in Mariupol, Kiev and Odessa. A NATO official announced that a Russian invasion was under way. A few minutes later, international agencies reported that the sounds of artillery shelling near Kiev and shooting near the Boryspil airport were heard.
In Mariupol, the largest front-line city of half a million and home to a strategic port, several residents reported hearing artillery fire from an area in the eastern part of the city. Closer to the front, in Kramatorsk, there were at least four loud explosions. Six hundred kilometers away, in the south of Ukraine, in Odessa, a port on the Black Sea, explosions were also heard. The Russian news agency Interfax recently reported that Russian troops are now operating in Mariupol and Odessa.
Earlier it was reported that Russia closed part of its airspace in the flight information zone of Rostov-on-Don, east of the border with Ukraine, for the “safety” of civilian flights, according to its aviation information signal. The sign of the Russian Civil Aviation Authority indicates certain areas and altitudes that should be avoided.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres urged the Russian President to end the war in Ukraine “in the name of humanity”:
“President Putin, in the name of humanity, order your troops to return to Russia. The consequences of this war will be catastrophic for Ukraine and deal a heavy blow to the global economy.”
Joe Biden accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of “decision” to start a “deliberate war” against Ukraine, minutes after the Kremlin occupier announced that he had ordered the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine. Condemning Russia’s “unjustified attack” on Ukraine, Biden stressed that the war would bring “catastrophic suffering and loss of life”:
“Russia bears sole responsibility for the death and destruction caused by this attack. People will call Russia to account.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s “unreasonable and unprovoked attack on Ukraine”, stressing that it “endangers the lives of countless civilians”:
“Once again, despite our repeated warnings and our tireless diplomatic efforts, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country. This is a serious violation of international law and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. I call her Russia to immediately stop all hostilities and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. NATO allies will meet to face the consequences of Russian aggression. We support the people of Ukraine in this terrible time. NATO will do everything possible to protect and defend all (its) allies.”