Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine on Thursday in what appeared to be the start of the war in Europe over Russia’s demands for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion.
In response, President Joe Biden said the US and its allies will respond in a united and decisive way to “an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces” on Ukraine and vows severe sanctions on Russia.
We are covering the Ukraine crisis live, follow updates here:
11:29am Russian forces invade Ukraine with strikes on major cities
Russian forces fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landed troops on its south coast on Thursday, officials and media said, after President Vladimir Putin authorized what he called a special military operation in the east.
Shortly after Putin spoke in a televised address on Russian state TV, explosions could be heard in the pre-dawn quiet of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Gunfire rattled near the capital’s main airport, the Interfax news agency said.
11:23 am: Ukraine parliament approves presidential decree on martial law
11:22am: Russia says it has taken out infrastructure at Ukraine air bases -reports
Russia’s defense ministry said it has taken out military infrastructure at Ukrainian airbases and degraded Ukraine’s air defenses, Russian news agencies reported.
The Russian ministry denied reports that one of its aircraft had been downed over Ukraine. Ukraine’s military said earlier that five Russian planes and one helicopter had been shot down over its Luhansk region.
11:18am: Tokyo´s Nikkei index ends down 1.8% on Ukraine crisis
Tokyo stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday as fears grew of a full-scale war in eastern Europe after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “military operation” in Ukraine, reported AFP
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.81 percent or 478.79 points to 25,970.82, while the broader Topix index lost 1.25 percent or 23.50 points to 1,857.58.
11:14am: EU leaders set to discuss further sanctions on Russia at emergency summit, Reuters
European Union leaders will discuss a further sanctions package on Russia at an emergency meeting later on Thursday, the EU said in a statement.
“(European Commission) President (Ursula) von der Leyen will outline a further sanctions package being finalized by the European Commission and which the Council will swiftly adopt,” the statement said.
11:12am: Non stop cyber attacks
Ukraine minister says cyberattacks are going on non-stop, Reuters reported.
11:05am: ‘This is Europe’s darkest hour’ since World War 2, Belgium’s De Croo says
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has thrown Europe back into a situation it thought the continent had long overcome, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Thursday.
“This is Europe’s darkest hour since the Second World War,” he said on Twitter.
🇺🇦 Belgium strongly condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine. This is Europe’s darkest hour since the Second World War. We are in close contact with our allies in NATO & EU.— Alexander De Croo 🇧🇪🇪🇺 (@alexanderdecroo) February 24, 2022
This Russian aggression is unnecessary and unprovoked. Our hearts and minds are with the people of Ukraine.