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LIVE UPDATES: Russia Attacks Ukraine,Multiple Cities Attacked

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LIVE UPDATES: Russia Attacks Ukraine, Multiple Cities Attacked. CityNews Nigeria brings you timeline of events….

 

A major Russian military operation is underway in multiple cities across Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced he had authorised a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine at the same time as the United Nations Security Council met for its second emergency meeting this week.

Russian media reported President Putin saying he had approved a “special military operation” in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where Moscow earlier recognised rebel-held territories in Luhansk and Donetsk and said they had asked for its “help”. Clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces were only a matter of time, he added.

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Shortly after Putin spoke, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, who is in Kyiv, said there were explosions in the capital and power had been cut.

It appeared to be a “full-scale attack”, targetting the airport and key buildings, he said. There was “chaos” in the city centre, he added.

Ukraine: Troops moving in from Belarus

Multiple reports are now quoting Ukrainian officials as saying troops in Belarus are joining the Russian attack, meaning the offensive is now also coming from Ukraine’s north.

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Belarus, which is on Ukraine’s northern border, has long been allied with Russia. Analysts describe the small country as Russia’s “client state”.

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The attack from the north adds to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s east, and Russian troop movement on Odessa in the south.

Biden says US and allies will impose severe sanctions

US President Joe Biden says he has spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, and briefed him on the steps he is taking “to rally international condemnation”.

In a statement, Biden says he condemned the attack as “unprovoked and unjustified”.

Zelensky “asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine”, Biden adds.

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The US president says he will be meeting with G7 leaders on Thursday, and the US and allies “will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia”.

“We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” he says.

Russia’s reported military action so far

Soldiers of assault engineer and recovery-and-salvage units of the Russian Army 1st Guards Engineer Brigade

BBC Kyiv correspondent James Waterhouse says a Ukrainian government official has given an indication of the breadth of the Russian military action so far.

The official says there have been cruise missile strikes launched this morning on Kyiv, as well as troop movements in Odessa to the south of the country.

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Troops have also been crossing the border in Kharkiv, about 25 miles from the Russian border, the official says.

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Early signs according to witnesses and government officials are that this is something quite large-scale, Waterhouse says.

There are also multiple reports from local media citing Ukraine’s Interior Ministry which says some of the missile strikes have attacked Ukraine’s military missile command centres and military headquarters in Kyiv.

Russia’s defence ministry has denied attacking Ukrainian cities – saying it is targeting military infrastructure, air defence and air forces with “high-precision weapons”.

Time to ‘up pain level’ on Russia, says US Senator

US Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said it is time to “up the pain level” on Russia following the beginning of its military operation in Ukraine.

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In a statement, Warner said that US lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum should come together – along with US allies – to “demonstrate to Putin that this aggression will not be allowed to go unpunished”.

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Warner added that Russia’s operation in Ukraine is a tragedy for the Russian and Ukrainian people alike.

“They [Russians] will pay a steep cost for Putin’s reckless ambition, in blood and in economic harm,” he added.

BREAKING: Russia says targeting military infrastructure

Russia’s defence ministry has denied attacking Ukrainian cities – saying it is targeting military infrastructure, air defence and air forces with “high-precision weapons”, the country’s state agency RIA citied the ministry as saying.

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UK and allies will respond decisively, says Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is “appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack”.

He adds that he has spoken to Ukraine’s president to discuss how to respond and promises decisive action by the UK and allies.

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