Russia: Expert details ‘concern’ for new missile technology
On Wednesday, Mr Putin held a surprise television announcement where he said he had “made the decision of a military operation”, despite weeks of intense diplomacy and threats of sanctions from western allies. Within a few hours of Mr Putin’s speech, Russia’s defence ministry said it had neutralised Ukrainian military airbases and its air defence systems.
Explosions have rocked the Ukrainian capital, with its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” is underway.
Now, terrifying pictures show brave servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard blocking a road in central Kiev.
The group of servicemen lie across the road while another picture shows a Ukrainian tank moving ahead of them.
Due to the invasion, at least 137 people have been killed in the airstrikes as 100,000 civilians flee their homes.
Ukrainian servicemen block road in Kiev
Ukrainian servicemen block road
Images also show terrified Ukrainians inside overnight bomb shelters as parents clutch hold of their children and beloved pets.
Buildings, homes and flats were destroyed as Russian airstrikes left the city in rubble.
There is also another haunting image of a child on a swing outside a residential building damaged by a missile this morning.
A Russian Buk M-1 missile system was also spotted in Kherson city as Mr Putin’s invasion gets underway.
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Kiev destroyed during Russian airstrike
Ukrainians seek shelter as Kiev destroyed
Western leaders are set to convene a summit to hammer out how next to push back against the “cynical and brutal invasion” in Ukraine.
Leaders of the 30 Nato allied nations will meet on Friday, US President Joe Biden confirmed, as they come under pressure to go even further than sanctions already announced. Boris Johnson described the invasion as a “dark day in the history of our continent”.
On Thursday, Mr Johnson told his Cabinet the UK could be proud of its role in supporting Ukraine, after the Prime Minister announced the “largest and most severe” package of sanctions Russia has ever faced to punish “blood-stained aggressor” Vladimir Putin.
A No10 spokesperson said: “He said the UK could be proud of the actions it has taken so far, playing a leading role in Nato, developing a tough economic sanctions package together with our allies, and providing lethal defensive weaponry to the Ukrainian government.
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Russia v Ukraine
Russia begins invasion of Ukraine
“He told Cabinet that the Ukrainian military was fighting back in defiance of Putin’s attempts to subjugate Ukraine.
“And he pointed to protests within Russia which demonstrated that Putin’s actions would also face resistance from within his own country.”
This week, the Russian President convened an unscheduled meeting with his security council in Moscow amid increasing tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
The meeting was to decide whether Russia would recognise two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as sovereign states.
Russian air strikes destroy Kiev
Ukrainians seek shelter from airstrikes
In recognising the independence of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia has officially given up on the 2015 peace deals that recognise Ukraine’s sovereignty over the territory.
It also gives Russia a pretext to send troops to the separatist-held areas.
According to Russian News Agency, TASS, Mr Putin made the decision to conduct a “special military operation” after a message from the Donetsk republic.
Mr Putin said: “Its purpose is to protect the people who have for eight years been exposed to humiliation and genocide by the regime in Kiev.
Russia begins invasion of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin
“For this, we will seek demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and also press for bringing to justice those who have committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful civilians, including Russian citizens.”
Mr Putin also urged the Ukrainian military to “lay down arms at once and leave for home”.
He continued: “Those servicemen of the Ukrainian army who will meet this demand will be free to leave the zone of combat operations and return to their families.”