(NewsGlobal.com)- In the biggest attack in Europe since the Second World War, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air, and sea.
Missiles were fired on Ukrainian cities, and columns of Russian troops began pouring over the borders into eastern Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Luhansk regions while Russian troops made sea landings on Odessa and Mariupol in the south. To the north, Russian troops crossed the border between Belarus and Ukraine.
Before dawn Thursday morning, explosions were heard in the capital of Kyiv.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced the invasion on Twitter and vowed that Ukraine would defend itself against Russia’s “war of aggression.” Kuleba urged Western leaders to stop Putin, adding, “The time to act is now.”
During a televised address from the Kremlin before the invasion began, Vladimir Putin announced he had ordered “a special military operation” ostensibly to protect the Russian citizens in Ukraine who are a target of “genocide.”
Putin vowed that Russia would “strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.” He claimed Ukraine was a threat to Russia’s safety, development, and existence, and argued that any bloodshed “will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine.”
Eagle-eyed journalists were quick to note that Putin was wearing the exact same suit and tie in his Thursday televised address as he did in his address on Tuesday, leading some to suspect that his invasion announcement was prerecorded two days earlier.
At the same time that Russian troops were starting their offensive, the UN Security Council was holding an emergency meeting in New York hoping to avert it.
In response to Russia’s actions, the White House released a statement ostensibly from the president offering prayers to the people of Ukraine and promising tough sanctions against Russia.
The president also spoke with President Zelensky telling him the US would urge countries to condemn Russia’s attack.
Three hours after Putin ordered the invasion, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had taken out Ukraine’s airbases and had degraded its air defenses.
Ukrainian media reported that the military command centers in Kyiv and the northeast city of Kharkiv had been hit by missiles and confirmed that Russian troops had landed in the port cities of Odessa and Mariupol.
After Putin’s address, global stocks and US bond yields plummeted while the US dollar and gold rocketed higher. Meanwhile, oil surged past $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.