‘Full-scale invasion’: Putin announces military op in Ukraine – explosions heard across country

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine at dawn on Thursday, 24 February. Explosions rang out across the country soon after, which prompted its foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, to say a “full-scale invasion” was happening.


Over the last weeks, between 150 000 and 200 000 Russian troops have amassed along the Ukraine border.

The West slapped Russia with sanctions after Putin recognised two separatist regions – Donetsk and Lugansk – as “People’s Republics” and received the authorisation to use military force outside of the country’s borders by the Federal Assembly.

“I have made the decision of a military operation,” said Putin in a televised address. Explosions were heard in the capital, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and other cities, according to the Associated Press (AP).

United States President Joe Biden immediately responded with a written statement. “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. The world will hold Russia accountable,” said Biden.

Putin said he did not want to occupy Ukraine and called on the country’s soldiers to lay down their arms and go home. He said Russia will move to “demilitarize” the country and bring those who committed crimes to justice.

The Kremlin claims the Kyiv government is overseeing “genocide” in the eastern parts of the country – the leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk wrote to Russia on Wednesday and asked for military help against Ukraine.


Before Putin’s announcement, the Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelensky, made a late appeal to the Russian people and asked them not to support “a major war in Europe.”

He spoke in Russian and said he attempted to contact Putin via telephone but there was “no answer, only silence.”

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” he said.

“But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

Foreign Minister Kuleba tweeted that a full-scale invasion of the country had begun and peaceful Ukrainian cities were under strike.

“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,” he said.

A couple speaks with each other at a metro station in Kyiv early on February 24, 2022. – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” was underway. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)


In this announcement of military action, Putin warned other countries not to interfere.

“I have a few words for those who could feel tempted to interfere with ongoing developments: whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history,” he said.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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