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Ukraine: Russia Launches Explosions to cities, residents panicking
UKRAINE — A lot of explosions have rocked multiple cities across Ukraine early Thursday moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation against the country stating was meant to force the central government and Ukrainian troops to surrender.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry confirmed that “missiles have just struck at the center of the Military Administration, airfields, military depots, in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.” Artillery shelling was also reported at border areas.
In Kramatorsk, three or four explosions resounded across the city of 150,000 residents in the Donetsk region that sits 30 miles west of the front line. It was not immediately clear what the explosions were, but Ukrainian officials told Buzzfeed News and other media that cruise missiles had been used on military installations around Ukraine.
Three residents of Kharkiv also disclosed in a series of text messages that they were awakened before dawn by a lot of explosions that bombed the city of 1 million people near the Russian border.
“We will probably leave the city,” one woman said, asking that her name not be used for security reasons. “Don’t understand how this can happen in the 21st Century.”
A worker walks through a hotel basement that’s being used by journalists to shelter in place shortly before 5 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2022, in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.
As the sun rose to reveal plumes of smoke in the distance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter that Russia was attacking military installations across the country but that residents shouldn’t panic as Ukrainian forcers launched their own defensive measures.
The escalation of military action comes days after Putin defied world leaders and ordered Russian troops into Eastern Ukraine, putting thousands of lives in danger. In the predawn hours of Thursday there were large explosions in the eastern city of Kramatorsk and near Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. There were other reports of explosions near the country’s capital of Kyiv, including at the Boryspil International Airport, as video of flashes and audio clips were posted on social media.
Newsmen confirmed there were two Ukrainian fighter jets flying over Kramatorsk just after dawn. They made three passes over the city and at least two explosions followed.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, called the action “a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
“Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” he said. “This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the border was attacked by Russian troops from Russia and Belarus at about 5 a.m. via artillery, heavy equipment, and small arms, adding that it did not yet know about any casualties.
As news of the military action unfolded, President Joe Biden issued a statement calling it 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 added. “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.”
In his address, Putin urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with Russian military action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
On Monday, Putin recognized the “independence” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions — two areas that actually belong to Ukraine but were taken by Russia during a war it started eight years ago. Putin, reacting to bogus and unproven reports of alleged Ukrainian aggression, then ordered his troops into the two territories on a “peacekeeping mission.”
In his own overnight address, Zelensky said his country preferred a peaceful resolution but that, ultimately, “we will defend ourselves.”
“When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs,” he said.
Biden also promised “further consequences” against Russia after he meets with world leaders on Thursday morning to discuss developments. Those would be in addition to targeted sanctions the US and European nations have already imposed. The United Nations Security Council has also agreed to Ukraine’s request for an emergency meeting.
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