Russia and Ukraine: Putin announces the start of a “military operation” in Donbass and urges Ukrainian soldiers to surrender

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picture released, Anadolu Agency/Getty

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the implementation of a “military operation” in the Donbass region, eastern Ukraine, which includes the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

This came in a televised speech to the Russian president, at the same time that the UN Security Council was asking him to stop, on Thursday morning.

Putin urged Ukrainian soldiers in the fighting zone in eastern Ukraine to surrender, lay down their weapons and return home. He also warned Ukraine not to hold it responsible for any bloodshed.

The US secretary of state said he was convinced Russia would invade Ukraine “before tonight is over”.

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