Ukraine: Large explosion as a missile hits Ivano-Frankivsk airport
Russian forces have launched an attack on Ukraine on the orders of President Vladimir Putin. At dawn, he announced a “special military operation” amid warnings from world leaders that it could spark Europe’s biggest war since 1945. Minutes after a televised address by Putin at around 5 a.m. Ukrainian time, explosions were heard near major cities, including the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
Images on social media also appeared to show civilian infrastructure such as apartment buildings hit by heavy artillery.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported that the country was under attack by cruise and ballistic missiles.
Western leaders like Boris Johnson said they were “appalled” by the events and spoke words of condemnation – but no further sanctions or action have yet been seen, despite desperate pleas from Ukrainian officials.
Prior to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Professor Julian Lindley-French, an internationally renowned strategic analyst and defense adviser who worked with NATO, argued that the West’s response to aggression of Russia proved that he was in a geopolitical mess. .
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Kyiv: A damaged structure caused by a rocket in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine
Speaking of what an invasion would mean, he said: “Russia would have demonstrated that it can achieve its goals to compel other countries to do what it wants, to comply with its goals.
“Putin’s demands during the treaties are ridiculous – the idea that NATO cannot deploy forces to a country that joined NATO after 1997 is nonsense.
“The fundamental principle in this whole conflict is the right of sovereign nations to choose their own alliances and allegiances and that’s what it’s testing, it’s using hard power to test whether we really live up to our values and our principles or whether we we’re just paper tigers.
“Many European countries, maybe even the UK, are paper tigers because let’s face it, the Western European powers of Britain, France and Germany are in deep trouble.”
He noted that Germany does not want to get involved in any serious conflict because of its vested interests with Russia, including the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which for now has been shut down.
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Professor Lindley-French continued: “Germany is often selfish when it comes to these kinds of issues, and its public is childish when it comes to these issues.
“Macron is obsessed with his leadership campaign for re-election and advancing this European idea of European strategic autonomy, which can only present itself as a functional power that France does not have.
“And just look at the absurdity [that happened] in London with ‘Partygate’, an elite obsessed with their own internal struggles, who seem to have no regard for the welfare of the country or its interests.
“For those of us who are citizens, this whole unedifying spectacle is frankly embarrassing.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss today said she had summoned the Russian ambassador to the UK to ‘explain Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine’.
She tweeted: “We will impose tough sanctions and rally countries to support Ukraine.”
Mr Johnson is expected to announce a new round of sanctions after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting with ministers this morning.
On Twitter, the prime minister said Putin had “chosen the path of bloodshed” and pledged to “react decisively” in concert with his allies.
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Chugiv: An injured man in the city of Chugiv, eastern Ukraine
The first round of sanctions, announced on Monday, targeted five Russian banks and three Russian billionaires whose assets were frozen.
Many, however, including government figures like Tom Tugendhat, said they had not gone far enough and in fact gave Russia confidence in its goals.
Upon invading Ukraine, Putin urged Ukrainian soldiers in the combat zone to lay down their weapons and return home.
However, he said clashes were inevitable and it was “just a matter of time”.
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He added that any intervention by outside powers to resist the Russian attack would receive an “instant” response and they would be destroyed.
In the early morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Russia had carried out missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and border guards.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied attacking Ukrainian cities.
He says he targeted military infrastructure, air defense and air forces with “high precision weapons”.
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However, images and videos posted on social media appear to show the civilian fallout from the Russian strikes.
AFP news agency shared photographs of a son crying over his father’s body among the debris of a missile strike in a residential area of Chugiv, eastern Ukraine.
A building was also seen in tatters after being hit by artillery, shared by fact-checking organization Bellingcat.