Gunfire, explosions heard in Kiev moments after Putin declares invasion of Ukraine

Gunfire, explosions heard in Kiev moments after Putin declares invasion of Ukraine
Missiles strike Ukrainian military command centres in cities of Kiev and Kharkiv

Gunfire and explosions could be heard in Kiev shortly after Vladimir Poutine announced the start of a Russian military operation contre Ukraine le jeudi matin, local and international media reported.

Reports of explosions or gunfire came in from at least five places in Ukraine or near the Russian border, including Kiev, Kramatorsk, Odess, Kharkhov, Berdyansk, and near the Boryspil Airport.

Russia conducted missile airstrikes on Ukrainian military command centres in the cities of Kiev and Kharkiv, the Ukrainska Pravda news website cited a Ukrainian interior ministry official as saying on Thursday.

Some gunfire was heard on Thursday near the main airport of Boryspil in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, the Interfax news agency said, citing local media, shortly after Ukraine suspended its airspace because of “potential hazard to civil aviation”. The airport has now cancelled all flights.

Blasts also rattled the Belgorod province of Russia bordering Ukraine, a witness told Reuters. And more explosions were heard in Kharkiv, in the country’s northeast.

A series of distant loud noises, which were called similar to the firing of artillery, were heard by witnesses in Kiev, reported Reuters.

Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the nation early morning on Thursday, announcing that the Kremlin had decided to carry out a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine.

“The situation requires us to take decisive, swift action,” Mr Putin, adding that Moscow plans to carry out the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine. He vowed to put an end to eight years of war in eastern Ukraine where Kiev government forces have been battling Russian-backed separatists.

Condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack”, US president Joe Biden said: “I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.

“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.”

“I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team," il a dit.

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Russia’s UN envoy says Moscow defended the attack, saying Moscow is not being aggressive against the Ukrainian people but it is against the junta in power in Kiev.

British foreign secretary Liz Truss said she condemns the “appalling, unprovoked attack” on Ukraine.

“I strongly condemn the appalling, unprovoked attack President Putin has launched on the people of Ukraine," a-t-elle tweeté.

“We stand with Ukraine and we will work with our international partners to respond to this terrible act of (agression)."

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