Russia Attacks as Ukraine Declares Martial Law

Russian troops took military action in eastern Ukraine Thursday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2022 11:41 PM CST
Updated Feb 24, 2022 12:34 AM CST
Ukraine Declares Martial Law as Russia Attacks
A woman walks by a large print at a photographic memorial for those killed in the confrontation between Ukraine's military and the pro-Russia separatist forces in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Update: This story has been updated to include the latest news, bulleted below. Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions, warning other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.” Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of a Russian invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government, the AP reports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced martial law, saying Russia has targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure and explosions are heard across the country. Zelensky said he had just talked to President Biden and the US was rallying international support for Ukraine. He urged Ukrainians to stay home and not to panic. More:

  • Biden pledged new sanctions meant to punish Russia for an act of aggression that the international community had for weeks anticipated but could not prevent through diplomacy. With rare but fragile alignment, the US Congress is largely backing him; the AP has more on that here.
  • Putin justified it all in a televised address, asserting the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine—a false claim the US had predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion. He accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees, and credulously claimed that Russia doesn't intend to occupy Ukraine but will move to “demilitarize” it and bring those who committed crimes to justice.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the action as a “full-scale invasion of Ukraine" and a “war of aggression,” adding, "Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
  • The Russian military said it has struck Ukrainian air bases and other military assets and hasn’t targeted populated areas. The Russian Defense Ministry statement said the military is using precision weapons to target Ukrainian air bases, air defense assets, and other military infrastructure. It claimed that “there is no threat to civilian population.”
  • An emergency UN Security Council meeting was meant as an eleventh hour effort to dissuade Russia from sending troops into Ukraine. But the message became moot when the explosions began even as it was being delivered. "It's too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation,” Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the council. “I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war.” The AP has more on the meeting here. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Russia's attack on Ukraine was “the saddest moment” of his five-year tenure, the AP reports.
  • Biden plans to speak to Americans on Thursday after a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders. More sanctions against Russia were expected to be announced Thursday. In a written statement, he said "the world will hold Russia accountable," CNN reports.
  • The massive cyberattack targeting Ukraine continued Thursday; more of the latest on that at the AP.
  • Russian troops and military vehicles are entering Ukraine from multiple borders including Russia, Crimea, and Belarus, CNN reports. It's not clear whether any Belarusian troops are involved, but Ukraine says Belarus is supporting the operation.
  • Ukraine says it is "firing at the enemy." There have been no reports of casualties so far, per the AP. Air raid sirens can be heard in multiple cities, and a general evacuation of Luhansk, one of two separatist regions backed by Russia, has been announced.
  • The Moscow Exchange has suspended trading until further notice and several airports in southern Russia have restricted operations until March 2. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is telling air operators of a high risk to civilian aircraft over Ukraine, the AP reports, reminding air operators that “this is now an active conflict zone.”
  • Ukraine claims to have shot down five Russian aircraft and a helicopter; Russia denies the claim. CNN is providing live updates here.
(More Russia stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.