Russian military launches ‘special operation’ in Ukraine: 7 things to know
- The United Nations said that Russia began attacking Ukraine on Thursday
- Bomb blasts were heard in several places in Ukraine
- US President Joe Biden warned of “catastrophic loss of life"
Russia President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorised his country’s military forces to run a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine. "I have made the decision of a military operation," he said in a televised address, Russian news agency TASS reported. With Ukraine fearing a Russian invasion, Kremlin had earlier announced rebel-held provinces independent and sent forces to protect them.
Here are seven latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine crisis:
1. US President Joe Biden warned of "catastrophic loss of life" after NATO announced that Russia began attacking Ukraine. “I'll be monitoring the situation from White House this evening and get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I'll meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning... We'll coordinate with our NATO allies,” Biden added.
2. "Kiev is continuing its military build-up along the line of disengagement" and "republics are experiencing the destruction of civil and industrial infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and kindergartens", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on rebel leaders’ request for Russia support. Blasts were heard early on Thursday in the rebel-held eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk.
3. As Russia attacked Ukraine a growing number of countries including China spoke for Ukraine's sovereignty at the UN. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has asked for Russia to stop its troops from attacking Ukraine.
4. Cyberattacks reportedly continue in Ukraine as the number of Russian troops attacked Ukraine. Cybersecurity firm ESET's researchers were quoted as saying by news agency Reuters that hundreds of computers were hit across the country with malware.
5. The European Union has imposed several sanctions on Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu and military chiefs, news agency AFP reported. The EU brought visa bans into force on the commanders of Russia's army, navy and air force by the 27-nation bloc.
6. The US has accused Russia and China of trying to create a profoundly "illiberal world order". "We think that Russia and the PRC also want a world order. But this is an order that is and would be profoundly illiberal, an order that stands in contrast to the system that countries around the world ... have built in the last seven decades. It is an order that is in many ways destructive, rather than additive," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
7. What followed was a series of sanctions by nations across the world on Russia and global condemnation. Ukraine on Wednesday announced a 30-day emergency. Kremlin has been repeating that it does not plan to invade Ukraine.