EU: These Are Among Europe's Darkest Hours Since WWII

Ukraine urges world not to stand by as Russia launches 'full-scale war'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2022 5:02 AM CST
Ukraine: 'The World Can and Must Stop Putin'
Smoke and flame rise near a military building after an apparent Russian strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

This story has been updated with new developments. As Russian troops pushed into Ukraine Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba denounced the "war of aggression" and urged other countries not to stand by as Russia invades. "The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now," he said. Ukrainian authorities say the country is being invaded from three directions in a "full-scale war" and Russian tanks have now reached Kharkiv, the country's largest city, the BBC reports. NATO says Russia has deployed ground troops and special forces and is targeting military facilities and major cities with air and missile attacks. In other developments:

  • Assault on airport near Kyiv. Ukrainian officials have confirmed that Russian helicopters have attacked a military airport near Kyiv, the Guardian reports. Area residents have shared video of the attack, which involved at least 20 aircraft. Analysts believe Russia is trying to seize the airport to move heavy equipment close to the capital.
  • Kremlin says it plans to 'cleanse' country. Reuters reports that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Russia intends to cleanse Ukraine of "Nazis" and "neutralize" its military capabilities. He claimed that Russia has no intention of occupying the country.
  • EU promises 'harshest sanctions.' European Union officials say the Russian invasion will be punished with the harshest sanctions the EU has ever imposed, the AP reports. "These are among the darkest hours for Europe since World War Two," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. "A major nuclear power has attacked a neighbor country and is threatening reprisals of any other states that may come to the rescue," Borrell said. "This is not only the greatest violation of international law, it’s a violation of the basic principles of human coexistence." Amid widespread international condemnation, Putin has warned that any attempt by other countries to intervene will lead to "consequences you have never seen."

  • Death toll rises. Ukraine says at least 40 of its soldiers have been killed along with at least 10 civilians, including a 9-year-old boy killed when an apartment building was shelled, the Telegraph reports. Ukraine's military says around 50 Russian soldiers have been killed and six Russian planes have been shot down.
  • NATO to hold emergency session. NATO said it would hold an emergency session Thursday to discuss the invasion, per the New York Times Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, described Russia's actions as a "reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives." He added: "This is a grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security."

  • Zelensky urges citizens to defend country. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has declared martial law, urged anybody willing to help defend the country against the Russian invasion to come forward and said weapons would be distributed. Ukraine's defense ministry said the invasion is being countered "with dignity" and the "situation" in under control, Guardian reports.
  • Shock in Moscow. Resident are fleeing Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities—and there is also "shock, horror, and bewilderment" in Moscow, according to BBC correspondent Sergei Goryashko. "There are queues at banks and currency exchange points and the police presence in the streets has also increased," says Goryashko. He says opponents of the war are considering holding a rally tonight—but it is highly unlikely they will be granted permission.
(More Ukraine stories.)

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