Russian forces have unleashed an attack of Ukraine on the orders of Vladimir Putin, who announced a “special military operation” at dawn, amid warnings from world leaders that it could spark the biggest war in Europe since 1945.
Within minutes of Putin’s short televised address, at about 5 am Ukrainian time, explosions were heard near major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv.
The scope of the Russian attack appears to be massive. Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that the country was under attack from cruise and ballistic missiles, with Russia appearing to target infrastructure near major cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Dnipro.
I strongly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin’s decision to launch a completely unprovoked attack is unacceptable and in contradiction to international law. Together with Allies, we will respond to this barbaric act of aggression,” tweeted the Czech Foreign Ministry.
I strongly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin’s decision to launch a completely unprovoked attack is unacceptable and in contradiction to international law. Together with Allies, we will respond to this barbaric act of aggression.
— Jan Lipavský (@JanLipavsky) February 24, 2022
Explosions from artillery rockets lit up the night sky as shelling began near Mariupol, video showed. A senior adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry said that it appeared Russian troops may soon move on Kharkiv, which is about 20 miles from the border. Locals in Kyiv sought safety in bomb shelters as explosions were heard outside the city.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala called it an “unjustified act of aggression” and said that it must be met by a hard reaction from the EU and NATO.
“The Czech Republic is ready for all scenarios regarding the situation in Ukraine”, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said after a meeting of the State Security Council on Wednesday.
The country is ready to help Ukraine, he said, and everything is being done for the situation to have as little impact on Czech citizens as possible.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Jana Černochová said that Russia had broken international law.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, has tweeted a “to do list” for the international community in response to Russia’s attack. He says “the world must act immediately” and the “future of Europe & the world is at stake”.
The world must act immediately. Future of Europe & the world is at stake. To do list:
1. Devastating sanctions on Russia NOW, including SWIFT
2. Fully isolate Russia by all means, in all formats
3. Weapons, equipment for Ukraine
4. Financial assistance
5. Humanitarian assistance
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 24, 2022