Russian troops launched a massive attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin rejected international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to intervene would have “results you’ve never seen.” Ukraine’s leadership said at least 40 people have been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war” targeting the country from the east, north and south.
Ukrainian border guards released footage of what they said were Russian military vehicles, and large explosions were heard in the capital, Kiev, Kharkiv and Odessa. As the Russian military claimed that all of Ukraine’s air defenses were wiped out in a matter of hours, Ukrainians fled some cities and European authorities declared Ukrainian airspace an active conflict zone. World leaders condemned the start of a long-anticipated offensive with far-reaching consequences, as global financial markets plunged and oil prices soared. Governments from the US to Asia and Europe prepared new sanctions after weeks of unsuccessful attempts at a diplomatic solution, but said they would not intervene militarily to defend Ukraine.
Smoke and flames rose near a military building after an apparent Russian attack in Kiev on Thursday. photos/ap
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky broke diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law, saying Russia had targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure. “Ukrainian forces are fighting a tough battle, repulsing attacks in the Donbass and other regions in the east, north and south,” Zelensky said at a briefing. He said that the Ukrainian authorities would hand over weapons to those willing to defend the country.
‘Ukraine will be militarized’
Putin justified his actions in an overnight televised address, saying the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a false claim the US predicted would make up for an invasion. He accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to stop Ukraine from joining NATO. He claimed that Russia did not intend to annex Ukraine, but would proceed to “demilitarize” it and bring the perpetrators to justice.
People stand near damaged military equipment on the street after an apparent Russian attack in Kharkiv
“This is a deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned offensive. … Russia is using force to try to rewrite history,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels. US President Joe Biden pledges new sanctions to punish Russia. NATO will strengthen its land, sea and air forces in its eastern side near Ukraine and Russia after Putin ordered a military strike.
US, G7 allies meet after Russia attack
US President Joe Biden met with his counterparts from the Group of Seven allies on Thursday morning and planned to take more tough measures against Russia. According to a White House official, Biden convened his National Security Council on Thursday to discuss developments in Ukraine. He plans to make his first public comment on the conflict at 12:30 p.m. EST. Biden and his G7 allies are scrambling to respond to a worst-case scenario by imposing harsh sanctions on Russia, which could push gasoline prices up in the West. The G7 includes the US, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada and Japan.
Traffic jam as people leave Kiev
Shares dive, oil climbs after Russian action
Stocks fell and oil prices rose by more than $5 a barrel on Thursday after Putin launched military crackdown in Ukraine, prompting Washington and Europe to announce sanctions on Moscow that would cripple the global economy. can affect. Market benchmarks in Europe and Asia fell as much as 4% as traders tried to gauge how big Putin’s incursion would be and the scale of Western retaliation. Wall Street futures retreated by an unusually wide daily margin of 2.5%. Brent crude oil jumped above $100 a barrel in London for the first time since 2014, amid concerns about a potential disruption in supplies from Russia, the No. 3 producer. Benchmark US crude briefly crossed $98 a barrel. The prices of wheat and maize also jumped. The ruble sank 7.5% against the dollar. The president of the European Commission said on Thursday that the 27-nation European Union plans “massive and targeted sanctions” on Russia. “We will hold President Putin accountable,” Ursula von der Leyen said.
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