After weeks of denying plans to attack its neighbour, Russia on Thursday launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.
Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on all citizens who were ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them. Here are the latest developments from the Ukraine crisis:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin says his aim is to demilitarise and ‘denazify’ Ukraine.
- Missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities and explosions were heard near the capital Kyiv.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on all citizens who were ready to defend the country to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.
- The European Union will freeze Russian assets, halt access of its banks to the European financial market and target “Kremlin interests" over its “barbaric attack", senior officials said.
- U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington and its allies would impose “severe sanctions" over what he called Putin’s “premeditated war".
- Ukraine’s military said it destroyed four Russian tanks near the eastern city of Kharkiv, killed 50 troops in the Luhansk region and downed a sixth Russian aircraft.
- Central European countries started preparations to receive people fleeing Ukraine, as dozens of cars queued on the Moldovan border.
- President Tayyip Erdogan told Putin that Turkey did not recognise steps against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Erdogan’s office said.
- China rejected calling Russia’s moves on Ukraine an “invasion" and urged all sides to exercise restraint.
- Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights.
- Russia suspended movement of commercial vessels in the Azov sea, officials said.
- European stocks plunged 3% as investors dumped riskier assets. Russia’s rouble hit an all-time low.