Putin used a televised address to announce what he called a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in response to what he termed Ukrainian threats. He said those who opposed the action will face “consequences they have never seen.” VOA reported before Russian “”Military Operation” in Ukraine.
Leading up to the Russian strikes, Russia recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR),. U.S. the West imposed stiff Sanctions prepared to take effect in the event of Russian military action.
The United States imposed sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG (NS2AG), its CEO Matthias Warnig, and NS2AG’s corporate officers. This action is in line with the United States’ longstanding opposition to Nord Stream 2 as a Russian geopolitical project and the President’s commitment that Nord Stream 2 would not move forward following the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“NATO Allies condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action, withdraw its forces from Ukraine, and choose diplomacy.” “We fully support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and Ukraine’s right of self-defence” Mr. Stoltenberg added.
Today, the North Atlantic Council decided to activate NATO’s defence plans to protect Allied nations during this crisis. “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the Alliance from aggression,” Mr Stoltenberg stated.
This morning Russia launched a new military operation against our state. This is an unjustified deceitful and cynical invasion.
There are strikes on military and other important defense facilities, border units are under attack, the situation in the Donbas has degraded.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine, all special and law enforcement agencies of the state are on alert. The National Security and Defense Council is working in an emergency mode.
Martial law will be imposed.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine hold fast their defensive positions.
In Chernihiv region, the enemy was stopped.
Fierce fights are taking place in the direction of Kharkiv and in the Joint Forces Operation area, where the enemy suffered casualties in men and materiel.
Our Forces have taken full control of MARIUPOL and SHCHASTIA. At least six planes, two helicopters and dozens of enemy armored vehicles have been destroyed.
The situation on Kharkiv direction is difficult, but the Ukrainian Defence Forces are fighting back the aggressor.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine are fighting hard battles repelling attacks by the Russian army throughout our country. The Ukrainian servicemen need the support of citizens. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a briefing at the Office of the Head of State.
“Our servicemen need this support. The main thing is that they need the support of our population. We have an army of powerful people. Our population is also a powerful army. So support our military,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President called on the Ukrainian media to more actively inform the public about the success of the Armed Forces and the losses of the enemy.
“The enemy has suffered heavy losses. The losses of the enemy will be even greater. They came to our land. Ukraine is under attack from the north, east and south. Attacked from the air. Protection works. Today, the army and national solidarity are the mainstay of Ukrainian statehood,” the President said.
MOD Russia’s Take:
RUSSIA MOD: “Reconnaissance data show that units and servicemen of the Ukrainian army are massively leaving their positions, abandoning their weapons, the positions of units of the Ukrainian army that have laid down their arms are not subjected to strikes.”
February 24. /TASS/. More than 70 ground infrastructure facilities belonging to Ukraine were incapacitated by strikes carried out by Russia’s Armed Forces, Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Thursday.
“As a result of the strikes conducted by Russia’s Armed Forces, 74 ground facilities of Ukraine’s military infrastructure were knocked out of action. Among them are 11 airfields belonging to the Air Force, three command points, a Ukrainian Navy base and 18 radar stations of S-300 and Buk-M1 missile systems,” Konashenkov specified.
According to him, a combat helicopter and four Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles were shot down.
He stressed that the strikes carried out by Russia’s Armed Forces are not targeting Ukrainian cities as well as social facilities in military garrisons. Russian MOD Reports that 100,000 Russian speaking refugees from the Donbas have fled into Russia.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says he has received assurances from Russian President Vladimir Putin the Russian leadership would regard an attack against Belarus as an attack against Russia. A Telegram channel close to the Belarusian presidential press service released a video with Lukashenko’s statement to this effect on Thursday, Tass reported.
“We have a joint group. Part of it is on the western border of Russia. I asked him (the Russian president – TASS) to avoid using part of that group. To keep it in reserve just in case, if something happens. His reply was: ‘I promise you that any attack against or just one step across the border into the Belarusian territory would mean that they attack Russia’,” Lukashenko cited Putin as saying.
“I would like them (in the West – TASS) to hear and understand this. And refrain from lying and coining fakes,” Lukashenko added.
BIDEN: The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer 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. 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. I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team.