Ukraine on Thursday severed diplomatic ties with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced as Moscow marched its troops into the country.

The announcement marked the first rupture of diplomatic ties between Russia and Ukraine since both countries became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Ukrainian President also urged his  to take up arms against the invaders, and said that Kyiv would supply weapons to anyone willing to defend their homeland.

Also read | Ukraine attack leaves Baltics wondering: Are we next?

Zelenksy also urged Russians on the other side of the border to mount protests against the military actions being taken on Ukrainian soil.

Zelensky’s announcement came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a ‘special operation‘ in Ukraine, which he claimed had been launched to protect the interests of civilians in the conflict-ridden Donbas region in the east of the country, which had been experiencing heavy shelling over the past couple of days.

Also read | ‘Barbarian act:’ World leaders condemn Russia on Ukraine

World leaders, for their part, condemned the actions by the Russian President, and the launch of the military operation in Ukraine has resulted in the suspension of diplomatic talks over the situation in the eastern European country.

“It’s too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation. I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war,” Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told the UN Security Council on Thursday.

Also read | NATO ambassadors to meet to discuss Ukraine crisis

Since then, Ukraine’s military has claimed that it has shot down several Russian aircraft. It has also said that dozens of Russian soldiers, reportedly around 50, have been killed in the fighting in the east of the country.

A day earlier, Zelensky had also announced a 30-day emergency in Ukraine in view of the unfolding crisis, as well as the drafting of reservists for the Ukraine army.