The worst fears of impending war have been confirmed, as Russian military forces have invaded the country of Ukraine under the direction of President Vladimir Putin, incurring condemnation from the United States and other nations around the world.
In an address to Russians on Wednesday (February 23rd) before 6 A.M., Putin announced a large-scale military operation would be carried out in the Donbas region in the eastern part of Ukraine. Shortly afterward, explosions could be heard in and around the capital of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Zaporizhia. Rockets were spotted being fired from Russia across the border, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky moved to enact martial law. “Putin began war against Ukraine, against the entire democratic world. He wants to destroy my country, our country, everything we’ve been building, everything we are living for,”, Zelensky said in a statement via Facebook. Putin has claimed that the invasion is not meant to target the citizens of Ukraine, and a military spokesperson issued a statement claiming that they are only focused on military targets. “High-precision weapons are making inoperable the Ukrainian army’s military infrastructure, air defense systems, airfields, and air forces, the statement read. Russian ground forces have swarmed in from the Donbas region as well as neighboring Belarus, which has a puppet-state relationship with Russia.
President Joe Biden sent out a terse tweet in the wake of the initial attacks, saying: “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.” The White House has stated that Biden will announce “severe sanctions” to be placed upon Russia later on Thursday. The U.S. Mission to NATO issued a statement on Twitter quoting President Biden and sharing their support for Ukraine: “The United States and our NATO allies condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s attack on Ukraine. We have been coordinating with our allies to prepare for this moment, and we are ready to respond.” A virtual NATO summit meeting is being planned for Friday (February 25th).
Presently, Ukrainian forces are gamely defending the country from the invading Russian troops. Journalist Terrell J. Starr, who lives and works in Kyiv, has been detailing the city’s response to the attacks, sharing video of one of the Russian missile attacks on the city. According to reports, there are 40 dead so far in the initial hours of the invasion.