Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation in eastern Ukraine early Thursday, saying he was acting in response to threats from Ukraine and warning other countries not to intervene.
He added in the televised address that those who oppose the Russian action in the Donbas region will face “consequences they have never seen.”
Around the same time, several rumbling explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, away from the city center.
U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement that the people of Ukraine were suffering “an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.”
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
Biden said that after speaking with G-7 leaders Thursday morning, he will announce “the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”
The United States and other Western allies of Ukraine imposed a series of sanctions earlier this week against Russian officials and the country’s financial system, and halted a Russian gas pipeline project, warning that further Russian action in Ukraine would trigger harsher measures.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who on Wednesday said more sanctions were urgently needed to stop further aggression from Putin, tweeted Thursday that the Russian leader had launched “a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
“Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression,” Kuleba posted. “Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s attack, calling it a “grave breach of international law.”
Credit: NEWS EXPRESS.