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Russian President Vladimir Putin has initiated an invasion into Ukraine and warned other nations of “consequences you have never seen” if they interfere in his plans.
The Russian leader announced the invasion in a nationally televised speech delivered late Wednesday. The speech centered on Putin’s longstanding grievances about the encroachment of NATO into territories/nations adjacent to Russia.
He claimed that despite attempts “over the past 30 years” to reach some sort of agreement with NATO, “the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand.”
“Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border,” he complained.
PRAY FOR UKRAINE THIS IS HORRIFIC pic.twitter.com/1n6kMRThCM
— Imam of Peace 🕊 (@Imamofpeace) February 24, 2022
He further accused the West — and particularly the United States — of acting like a bully and forcing its wants and desires down the throats of every nation, regardless of what individual nations want.
He attributed this behavior to the West’s alleged “feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves.”
As examples, he cited the West’s actions in Libya, Syria and especially Iraq, where he said the West “used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” to invade.
Returning to the topic of Ukraine, he framed his own invasion as a liberating force meant to untether Ukraine from the allegedly corrupt grip of the West.
BREAKING: Air raid sirens wail across Ukraine’s capital pic.twitter.com/jclNZ5h7kx
— BNO News (@BNONews) February 24, 2022
“The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation,” he said.
He vowed that he doesn’t intend to “occupy the Ukrainian territory” or “impose anything on anyone by force.”
However, he warned, other nations will face his wrath if they interfere.
“No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” he said.
“No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.”
Shortly after the first explosions began being heard in Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement accusing Putin of perpetrating “an unprovoked and unjustified attack” and vowing to hold Russia “responsible” for whatever comes next.
“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,” he said.
He added that he intends to meet with the United States’ “G7 counterparts” Thursday morning to determine their next steps.
“We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine,” he concluded.
The prayers of the 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. https://t.co/Q7eUJ0CG3k
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 24, 2022
As of early Thursday morning, Russia’s invasion into Ukraine was being described by the European nation’s officials and the media alike as a “full-scale invasion.”
“[S]everal areas throughout Ukraine were targeted by missile strikes — prompting Ukrainians to start fleeing — while Russian forces also landed troops on the country’s south coast, signalling the operation was not limited to the east,” the Global News reported.
“At least 40 people have been killed and dozens were wounded by the Russian shelling, an advisor to the Ukrainian presidential office said. He did not specify if any of the dead were civilians.”
Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 24, 2022
See more footage of the events in Ukraine below:
Minutes after President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine, explosions were visible near the city of Kharkiv. By early Thursday morning, several Ukrainian cities were under attack.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 24, 2022
These are some of the first images of Russian troops entering Ukraine, verified by The New York Times.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 24, 2022
Explosions are seen and heard across Ukraine after Russia launched an invasion of the country earlier on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/JOe5Kj0Uwn
— euronews (@euronews) February 24, 2022
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