Kharkiv, Ukraine (WNews Breaking) – Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that interfering with the Russian action would incur “consequences they have never seen.”
He said the attack was needed to protect civilians in Eastern Ukraine — a claim the U.S. had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion.
During a televised address, Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russian demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and to offer Moscow security guarantees. However, he noted that Russia has no intention of occupying the country.
As U.S. President Joe Biden said, the world will “hold Russia accountable” for the “unprovoked, unjustified” attack on Ukraine.
As Putin spoke, explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine.
In his statement from Washington late Wednesday, Biden that the prayers of the world are with Ukraine.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” he 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.”
A full-blown Russian invasion could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government. And the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, affecting energy supplies in Europe, jolting global financial markets and threatening the post-Cold War balance on the continent.
Putin said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine, and urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.”
A pretext for war
The announcement forced the West to fear that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war just as it had warned. Earlier this week, the Kremlin said rebels in Eastern Ukraine requested Russian military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian aggression.
In response to Russian claims that Ukraine poses a threat to Russia, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said an invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.
“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an emotional overnight address to his nation in Russian, ahead of the operation. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”
Zelensky said he asked to arrange a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday, but the Kremlin did not respond.
“This step could mark the beginning of a big war on the European continent,” Zelensky said in apparent reference to Putin’s decision to authorize the Russian military’s presence in Eastern Ukraine to “maintain peace.”
“Any provocation, any spark could trigger a blaze that will destroy everything,” he said.
He challenged the Russian claims, saying that “you are told that this blaze will bring freedom to the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free.”
The United Nations Security Council quickly scheduled an emergency meeting Wednesday night at Ukraine’s request. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the separatists’ request “a further escalation of the security situation.”
On Monday, Putin recognized the independence of the separatist regions, sanctioned the deployment of troops to the rebel territories, and secured parliamentary approval to use military force outside the country, raising fears of a Russian offensive against its neighbour. The West responded with sanctions.
The U.S. and key European allies accused Moscow of crossing a red line Tuesday in rolling over Ukraine’s border into the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, known collectively as Donbas, with some calling it an invasion.
A Kremlin spokesperson said Wednesday that separatist leaders wrote to Putin, asking him to intervene after Ukrainian shelling killed civilians and crippled infrastructure.
As Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said, the separatists’ request for Russian help is an example of a “false-flag” operation that the U.S. and its allies expect Moscow to use as a pretext for war.
State of emergency
Ukrainian lawmakers approved a decree earlier in the day that imposed a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days starting Thursday. The measure allows authorities to declare curfews and restrictions on movement, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations “in the interests of national security and public order.”
As a result of the action, Ukrainian authorities showed increasing concern after weeks of trying to project calm. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry recommends that Ukrainians who are in Russia leave immediately.
“For a long time, we refrained from declaring a state of emergency … but today the situation has become more complicated,” Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council head Oleksiy Danilov told parliament, emphasizing that Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine represented the main threat.
Additionally, the Russian Embassy in Kyiv has been evacuated, the Ukrainian ambassador to Moscow has been recalled, and dozens of nations have limited access to the international market for Russian oligarchs and banks.
Biden allowed sanctions to move forward against the company that built the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and against the company’s CEO.
“As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate,” Biden said in a statement.
German officials announced Tuesday they will suspend the pipeline project, which is complete but has not yet begun operating.
On Wednesday, the European Union approved sanctions against Russia that target several companies along with 351 lawmakers, 27 government officials, business executives, and top military officers.
Cyberattacks disrupt key sites
According to Ukraine’s Minister for Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, a wave of denial-of-service attacks targeted some banks and official websites on Wednesday. The attack caused interruptions or delays to the websites of the parliament, cabinet, and foreign ministry, as well as the defense and interior ministries, which control the police.
He said they caused disruptions on the sites of the defence and internal affairs ministries, which control the police.
The Canadian ambassador to the UN, Bob Rae, said during a special meeting of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that Russia has been conducting “hostile cyber operations on Ukraine and several other countries” and spreading propaganda and disinformation on “every conceivable social media platform on the planet.”
As a result of the risk of “full-scale armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” the Canadian government advised citizens on Wednesday to avoid all travel to Ukraine or to leave the country immediately, “while commercial means are still available.”
Transport Canada on Wednesday night announced that Canadian air operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are now prohibited from entering two regions of Ukraine’s airspace because of “increased risk in Eastern Ukraine.”
Early Thursday, airspace over all of Ukraine was shut down to civilian air traffic, according to a notice to airmen. A commercial flight tracking website showed that an Israeli El Al Boeing 787 flying from Tel Aviv to Toronto turned abruptly out of Ukrainian airspace before detouring over Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.
The only other aircraft tracked over Ukraine was a U.S. unmanned surveillance plane, which began flying westward early Thursday after Russia imposed flight restrictions over Ukrainian territory.
WNews is the place to be for the latest global news. Starting in 2012 as WorldNewsNetwork7, we want to bring the news back to the news with unbiased reporting of the news. We believed that news should be honest and trustworthy.
WNews is a W-World Brand, a Canadian-based company.