Vladimir Putin starts war in Ukraine

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putinannounced on Thursday a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with Russian actions will result in “consequences they have never seen before.”

He said the attack was necessary to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, an argument the United States had predicted it would use to justify an invasion.

In a televised speech, Putin accused the United States and its allies of neglecting Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and to offer Moscow security guarantees. He added that Russia does not have the goal of occupying Ukraine.

As Putin delivered his speech, loud bangs could be heard in Kiev, Kharkiv and elsewhere in Ukraine.

A full-scale Russian invasion could cause huge casualties and topple the democratically elected government in Ukraine. And the consequences of the conflict and the subsequent sanctions against Russia could reverberate around the world, affecting energy supplies in Europe, shaking financial markets around the world and putting at risk the balance that had been established on the continent after the Cold War.

Putin said the Russian military operation is aimed at ensuring Ukraine’s “demilitarization” and called on Ukrainian soldiers to “immediately lay down their arms and go home.”

The president announced the military operation after the Kremlin reported that rebels in eastern Ukraine had asked Russia for military help to repel Ukrainian “aggression.” The announcement immediately sparked fears that Moscow would present it as a justification for starting a war, just as the West had warned.

Shortly afterward, in an emotional address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Moscow’s claims that his country was a threat to Russia and warned that a Russian invasion could cost tens of thousands of lives.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace”Zelenskyy said in Russian. “But if they attack us, if they try to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and those of our children, we will defend ourselves. When they attack us, they will see our faces, not our backs.”

Zelenskyy said he asked to set up a call with Putin on Wednesday night, but got no response from the Kremlin.

The military operation was announced at a time when an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Biden accuses Putin of an unjustified attack

The President of the United States denounced Russia’s “unjustified attack” against Ukraine on Wednesday night, after his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, announced a “military operation” in defense of separatists in the east of that country. “President Putin has chosen (to launch) a premeditated war that will cause catastrophic human loss and suffering,” Joe Biden said in a statement. Russia “is responsible for the death and destruction that this attack will cause,” he insisted.

NATO condemns attack

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday denounced Russia’s “irresponsible and unprovoked attack” on Ukraine and warned that it put “countless” lives at risk.

“I strongly condemn Russia’s unprovoked and irresponsible attack on Ukraine, which puts countless civilian lives at risk. Once again, despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression. against an independent and sovereign country,” Stoltenberg said in a statement, announcing a meeting of NATO allies to address the “consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions.”

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