Russia – Ukraine Live news

Russia – Ukraine Live news :Ukraine says several killed as Russia launches biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin launches Ukraine invasion.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declares martial law.
  • He also calls on citizens to fight, says weapons will be issued to everyone who wants them and claims Ukraine will “win”.
  • Several Ukrainian civilians reportedly killed.
  • Ukraine’s military says about 50 Russian forces have been killed and six warplanes destroyed in fighting.
  • Western powers condemn Moscow’s move.
  • Crisis escalated after Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine requested Moscow’s assistance.

Ukraine’s Klitschko pleads for international assistance

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko, whose brother Vitali is the mayor of Kyiv, has told Al Jazeera that the Russian invasion is “terrifying” and called on the world to help “stop the killing of Ukrainians”.

Russia can not be cut off behind an ‘iron curtain’, Kremlin spokesman says

The Kremlin says Russia can not be shut off behind an iron curtain and that it needs Ukraine to become a neutral country where offensive weapons were not deployed.

“It’s simply impossible to cut off a country like Russia with an iron curtain,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked to assess the risk of Russia being diplomatically and economically isolated due to its actions in Ukraine.

Russian forces trying to penetrate Kyiv region, border officials say

Russian forces are trying to penetrate into Ukraine’s Kyiv region and its Zhytomyr region on the Belarusian border, Ukrainian border officials say.

The officials said Russia was using Grad rocket systems as part of its assault, and claimed that Russian helicopters had attacked a military airport near Kyiv.

Ukrainian forces shot down three of the helicopters involved in the attack on the facility, the officials added.

UN’s high commissioner for refugees urges countries to give fleeing Ukrainians safe haven

The UN’s high commissioner for refugees has warned that the situation in Ukraine is quickly deteriorating and appealed to neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to people seeking a safe haven.

“We have already seen reports of casualties and people starting to flee their homes to seek safety,” Grandi said in a statement.

He added the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) had stepped up its operations and was working with Ukrainian authorities to provide greater humanitarian assistance.

Grandi said the agency was also working with governments in neighbouring countries and called on them “to keep borders open to those seeking safety and protection”.

NATO has no plans to send troops into Ukraine, Stoltenberg says

NATO has no troops inside Ukraine and has no plans to send any into the country, the organisation’s secretary-general says.

“There are no NATO combat troops, no NATO troops at all inside Ukraine. We have made it clear that we don’t have any plans and intention of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine,” Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

“What we have made clear is that we have already increased and we are increasing the presence of NATO troops in the eastern part of the alliance on NATO territory,” he added.

Ukraine is a partner of the Western defence alliance but not a full NATO member.

INTERACTIVE- NATO members in Europe expand eastwards

Navalny condemns Ukraine invasion

Putin’s most prominent domestic critic, Alexey Navalny, has spoken out against Russia’s invasion during a court hearing.

“The war with Ukraine has been unleashed to cover up the robbery of Russian citizens and divert their attention away from the country’s internal problems, from the degradation of its economy,” he said. “I am against this war.”

Navalny is currently serving a prison sentence for alleged parole violations that could be extended by more than a decade if he is convicted of fresh charges including fraud and contempt of court.

His allies have claimed that his latest trial which opened last week has been purposefully timed to coincide with the Ukraine crisis.

Russian regulator issues strict guidelines for reporting on eastern Ukraine

Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has warned media outlets they must check the veracity of their reports about the situation in eastern Ukraine and only publish information from official Russian sources.

Roskomnadzor said the distribution of false information online would lead to immediate restrictions.

“We emphasise that it is namely Russian official information sources that hold and disseminate reliable and up-to-date information,” Roskomnadzor said.

Erdogan slams Russia’s attack as a ‘heavy blow’ to peace

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “heavy blow” to regional peace and called for a resolution of the crisis through dialogue.

“We reject Russia’s military operation,” Erdogan said in a televised speech. “This step, which we view as against international law, is a heavy blow struck on regional peace, harmony and stability.”

The Turkish leader added he had conveyed Ankara’s support to Zelenskyy in a phone call between the pair.

Ukraine says Russia is carrying out ‘full-scale attack’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Russia is carrying out a full-scale offensive from multiple directions and that Ukrainian forces are resisting the attack.

“No, this is not a Russian invasion only in the east of Ukraine, but a full-scale attack from multiple directions,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

“Ukraine stands with both feet on the ground & continues to defend itself,”

‘Left no other option’: Excerpts of Putin’s speech declaring war

Al Jazeera has translated some of Putin’s early morning address to the Russian nation, in which he announced Moscow was launching what he called a “special military operation” against Ukraine.

Iran says Ukraine crisis rooted in ‘provocative moves’ by NATO

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine is rooted in “provocative moves” by NATO.

However, he added Tehran did not “see resorting to war as a solution” and called in a post on Twitter for a “political and diplomatic solution” to the crisis.

Amirabdollahian also said he had held a phone call with officials at Iran’s embassy in Kyiv to discuss how they might coordinate the evacuation of Iranian citizens from Ukraine.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that Tehran is working to secure an exclusive flight to evacuate citizens and called on them to move away from “crisis points”.

After ‘bridge to Europe’ bid, Ukraine’s China ties face test

Beijing’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine indicates China will attempt to maintain its delicate balancing act over the crisis.

Read more here.

Zelenskyy holds phone conversation with Qatari emir

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has received a phone call from Zelenskyy, who briefed him on the latest developments, his office has said in a statement.

Sheikh Tamim called on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve the criss through diplomatic means, the statement added. The Qatari emir also called for the protection of civilians

INTERACTIVE- Ukraine Russia head-to-head

NATO moves to reinforce its eastern flank

NATO member states have agreed to bolster land, sea and air forces on the military alliance’s eastern flank.

“We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the alliance, as well as additional maritime assets,” NATO ambassadors said in a statement after emergency talks.

“We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies,” the statement added.

Separatist leader says evacuation of residents to Russia suspended: Report

Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-backed leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, says the evacuation of the territory’s residents to Russia has been suspended, according to a report by the Interfax news agency.

Russia moved to recognise the DPR and another breakaway territory, the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), as independent prior to launching its invasion into Ukraine.

Mayor of Mariupol says three civilians killed

The mayor of Mariupol has claimed that three of the eastern Ukrainian city’s civilians have been killed and six others injured amid Russia’s invasion.

Vadym Boychenko told a news conference that Russian forces had attacked the city’s airport and a village nearby.

“Don’t panic. We are ready to fight for Mariupol and Ukraine,” he said.

Zelenskyy adviser says 40 Ukrainians killed

An adviser to Ukraine’s president says about 40 people have been killed so far amid Russia’s invasion.

Oleksii Arestovich, Zelenskyy’s aide, also said that several dozen people have been wounded. He did not specify whether the casualties included civilians.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures.

Putin ally says Ukraine’s demilitarisation only way to prevent war in Europe

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, has said that the only way to prevent war in Europe is for Ukraine to be “demilitarised”, according to a report by the country’s RIA Novosti news agency.

Volodin is a close ally of Putin.

No scope for diplomacy with Russia ‘at this stage’

Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from Vienna, says Western leaders see no scope for “talking to the Russians at this stage”.

“The only diplomacy going on is diplomatic meetings aimed at formulating a response to what Putin has done – that is what the centre of attention is going to be in the coming hours,” he said.

Ukraine breaks diplomatic ties with Russia

Zelenskyy has broken off Kyiv’s diplomatic relations with Moscow in response to Russia’s invasion.

The Ukrainian president’s move marked the first rupture in ties since Russia and Ukraine became independent countries after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

OSCE says monitoring mission in Ukraine implementing contingency plans

The secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says the security body’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which has hundreds of observers in the east of the country, is adapting after Russia’s military offensive.

“The mission’s well-developed contingency plans are being put in action,” Helga Schmid said in a speech to the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly, without providing details.

“The safety and security of our personnel is our utmost priority,” she added.

Russian invasion is a ‘catastrophe’ for Europe, UK PM says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “catastrophe” for Europe and has called for an urgent meeting of the United States-led NATO military alliance.

“This is a catastrophe for our continent,” Johnson said on Twitter, adding he would make a national address on the developments later on Thursday morning.

“I will also speak to fellow G7 leaders and I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible,”

Ukraine’s president calls on citizens to fight

Zelenskyy has called on all citizens who are ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

The Ukrainian president also urged Russians to come out and protest against Moscow’s decision to invade its neighbour.

Finland is ready to receive refugees from Ukraine, PM says

Finland is prepared to receive refugees from Ukraine, the country’s prime minister has said.

“[Finland’s] ministry of interior for its part is preparing to receive refugees from Ukraine,” Sanna Marin told reporters.

Both Marin and Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto have strongly condemned Russia’s attack.

“Despite prior warnings this morning has come as a shock for all of us and our deepest feelings are with Ukrainian people,” Niinisto said.

Russian attack causes panic in Kyiv as people flee

The sound of explosions on the edge of Ukraine’s capital and air sirens set off by a full-scale Russian invasion of the country have prompted panic in the city, leading some of its residents to try and flee.

Read more here.

A traffic jam is seen in Kyiv

Lithuanian parliament to consider state of emergency declaration

The Lithuanian parliament will decide whether to declare a state of emergency later on Thursday following Russia’s moves in Ukraine, President Gitanas Nauseda says.

The Baltic state, a former Soviet republic that is now part of NATO and the European Union, will also propose that further sanctions should be imposed on Belarus over its alleged role in the invasion.

What’s next for global energy prices?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spells higher energy prices worldwide amid fears of supply disruptions.

Sanctions not enough to stop Russia: Analyst

Fabrice Pothier, chief strategy officer at consultancy firm Rasmussen Global and a former director of policy planning at NATO, says Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is “not surprising”.

“Putin … wants to rebuild Russia’s empire,” Pothier told Al Jazeera.

“And while the US and EU sanctions packages sound impressive, and there is indeed a lot of unity and coordinated talks [among Kyiv’s allies], the bottom line is that this is not enough to stop Putin from following his twisted vision,” he added.

“NATO is not willing to put any soldiers on Ukrainian soil and Putin knows this very well and therefore he can go all the way forward to Kyiv.”

Dozens of Russian forces killed, Ukraine says

Ukraine’s military says about 50 Russian forces have been killed and six warplanes destroyed amid fighting in the country’s east.

Watch the moment Putin announced Russia’s Ukraine incursion

Here’s the moment Russia’s president announced Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine, a move he referred to as “a military operation” in the country’s eastern Donbas region.

Belarusian forces not taking part in invasion, Lukashenko claims

President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that Belarusian troops are not taking part in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a report by the country’s Belta state news agency.

“Our troops are taking no part in this operation,” Lukashenko, who is a close ally of Putin, was quoted as saying.

Ukraine’s border guard service said earlier that Russian troops had attacked Ukraine from Belarus – where they had been staging joint large-scale military exercises with Belarusian forces – as well as from Russia itself with Belarusian support.

Ukraine asks Turkey to shut Black Sea waterways to Russian warships

Ukraine has asked Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian warships, Kyiv’s ambassador to Ankara says.

“We are calling for the air space, Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to be closed. We have conveyed our relevant demand to the Turkish side. At the same time, we want sanctions imposed on the Russian side,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar told a news conference in the Turkish capital.

The request puts NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good relations with both countries, in a difficult position. Under a 1936 pact, Ankara has control over the straits and can limit warship passages during wartime or if threatened.

Russian opposition activist calls for anti-war protests

A Russian opposition activist has called for anti-war protests in Russian cities later on Thursday.

“We will be cleaning up this mess for years to come. Not even us. But our children and grandchildren,” Marina Litvinovich, the Moscow-based activist, wrote on Facebook.

“All we see is the agony of a dying man. Alas, Russia is in agony.”

INTERACTIVE- Russia Ukraine Conflict at a glance FEB 24

Timeline: Putin attacks Ukraine – how it happened

Russia’s attack on Ukraine started in the early hours of this morning.

Click here for a timeline documenting how the invasion began, and has developed since.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: What we know so far

Al Jazeera has put together a 500-word explainer on the background to Russia’s invasion and what has happened so far.

Click here to read it.

Russia claims air raids not targeting Ukraine’s cities, pose no civilian threat: Report

Russia’s defence ministry has claimed its air raids on Ukraine are not targeting the country’s cities and pose no threat to civilians, RIA Novosti reports.

Ukraine said earlier that at least eight people had been killed and nine others wounded by Russian shelling.

EU to impose ‘harshest sanctions ever’ on Russia

The EU will slap the harshest package of sanctions ever implemented on Russia for attacking Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief has said.

“The European Union will respond in the strongest possible ways … [EU leaders] will adopt a stronger package, the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented,” Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels.

Russia suspends shipping in the Azov sea: Report

Russia has suspended the movement of commercial vessels in the Azov sea until further notice, Interfax has quoted the state agency for maritime and river transport as saying.

Ukraine and Russia both have ports on the Sea of Azov, including Ukraine’s major port of Mariupol, while Russia controls the sea’s mouth at the Kerch Strait.

Timeline: After months of tensions, Russia attacks Ukraine

For a timeline documenting the build-up to Russia’s invasion,

‘Everybody was panicking’

Sara Cincurova, a freelance reporter, says she was on a train headed for the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine when news of Russia’s invasion broke.

“Everybody was panicking … there was an old man asking what was going on and the train attendant told him ‘the war has just begun’,” Cincurova told Al Jazeera.

“There was another passenger, an old lady whose son is in the army, who started crying. Other people were wishing each other good luck … and there was a big discussion about whether we should all get off in the next village,” she added.

“Some people decided to head east to meet with their families, but others got off.”

‘The war is a big disaster’: Zelenskyy’s address in full

As Russia prepared to attack Ukraine, the country’s president made an emotional address to his nation.

Click here to read Zelenskyy’s address in full.

Queues at cash machines, petrol stations in Mariupol

Al Jazeera’s Liz Cookman is in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine. She says there are large queues at cash machines and petrol stations as people fear electricity and internet outages.

But despite air raid sirens sounding throughout the city, packed buses were still carrying people to work and school.

A queue is seen at a petrol station in Mariupol

Photos from Ukraine

Click here for images from Ukraine as Russia’s attack unfolds.

Explosions rock eastern Ukraine’s Kramatorsk

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Kramatorsk, says several loud explosions rocked the city early this morning.

“I think … what has been targeted is the military base that is just on the edge of the city,” Abdel-Hamid said. “The Russians are trying to diminish the capability of the Ukrainian army as much as possible.”

World reaction to Ukraine invasion

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has been swiftly condemned by several nations.

Read more here.

INTERACTIVE: Loud-explosions-heard-across-Kyiv-Ukraine

Russia says it has taken out infrastructure at Ukraine air bases: Reports

Russia’s defence ministry says it has attacked military infrastructure at Ukrainian air bases and degraded Ukraine’s air defences, according to reports by Russian news agencies.

The ministry denied reports that one of its aircraft had been shot down over Ukraine. Ukraine’s military said earlier that five Russian planes and one helicopter had been downed in the country’s eastern Luhansk region.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the claims made by both sides.

Air raid sirens blaring throughout Kyiv

Al Jazeera Andrew Simmons, reporting from Kyiv, says air raid sirens have been blaring throughout the city.

“It would appear that military installations have been the target [of the attack] – there have been missiles attacks and the number of casualties and level of damage is unclear at the moment,” Simmons said.

“But the whole sky was awash with red and orange when these missiles struck – some of which were apparently cruise missiles. And the main international airport did come under attack – it is not clear what the damage is there, but all air space is closed,” he added.

Zelenskyy declares martial law, says Ukraine will ‘win’

Ukraine’s president has made a brief national address to declare martial law throughout the country.

“Dear Ukrainian citizens, this morning President Putin announced a special military operation in Donbas. Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine. We’re introducing martial law on the whole territory of our country,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.

He added he had spoken with US President Joe Biden, and that Washington was moving to unite “international support” for Kyiv.

“Today each of you should keep calm. Stay at home if you can. We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defence and security is working,” Zelenskyy said. “No panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”

Ukraine says troops attacked from Russia and Belarus

Russian troops attacked Ukraine from Belarus as well as Russia itself, with Belarusian support, at about 5 am local time (07:00 GMT), Ukraine’s border guard service says.

The agency said an attack had also been launched from Crimea, which Russia annexed from Crimea in 2014.

Russian military ‘tight-lipped’ on Ukraine attack

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Moscow, says the Russian military is being “very tight-lipped on what is happening on the ground with Ukraine”.

“We are hearing reports of the Russian military going in from various sides of Ukraine – from the east, from the west and now allegedly from the north in Belarus,” Jabbari said.

“It is clear now that this is not just a small military operation in the eastern region of Donbas as the president [Putin] had said,” she added.

“Many residents in Moscow yesterday were commemorating their version of Remembrance day. They said they could not possibly fathom the idea of going to war with Ukraine. [They said] Ukraine is their neighbour, is part of their family, they are brother and sisters and there is really no justification for launching a full-scale attack on Ukraine.”

Intensive shelling in Ukraine’s east, minister says

Ukraine’s defence minister has said that Ukrainian units, military control centres and airfields in the country’s east are under intensive Russian shelling.

His update came as the military said that Ukraine’s air force was trying to repel a Russian air attack.

Russia’s move could ‘change dynamics in Russia’, analyst says

Chris Weafer, Macro-Advisory CEO, said that Russia’s move could pose a risk for Putin’s domestic consensus.

“What Putin has done is not just risky in terms of geopolitics and in terms of western reaction, but it is also in terms of domestic politics,” Weafer said, pointing out that a growing active part of the population will not easily accept the consequences for them that will now come from Russia’s invasion.

“We are already seeing a weak ruble at the early opening this morning that will have consequences in terms of inflation and lifestyle,” he added, noting that sanctions could affect people’s ability to use bank cards, to withdraw money from ATMs and to travel.

“All of these are potential consequences and if that happens there will be a domestic public reaction. Not immediately, but it will start to change dynamics in Russia.

Russia says targeting Ukraine military facilities with ‘precision’ weapons

The Russian defence ministry has said it is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure with precision weapons.

“Military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields, and aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being disabled with high-precision weapons,” the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

EU chief promises to hold Kremlin ‘accountable’ for ‘unjustified’ Ukraine attack

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has denounced Russia’s attack and promised to hold Moscow “accountable”.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine. In these dark hours, our thoughts are with Ukraine and the innocent women, men and children as they face this unprovoked attack and fear for their lives,” she wrote on Twitter.

“We will hold the Kremlin accountable.

Biden speaks with Ukraine’s Zelenskyy, White House says

Biden spoke with Zelenskyy soon after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine, the White House has said.

Biden “just spoke with Zelensky,” a spokesman for his office said, adding that details would be issued later.

Russia-Ukraine crisis

Moscow’s UN envoy says Russia targeting ‘junta in power in Kyiv’

Russia’s ambassador to the UN has told an emergency UN Securtiy Council (UNSC) meeting that Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine was targeting “the junta” in power in Kiyv.

“I wanted to say in conclusion that we aren’t being aggressive against the Ukrainian people but against the junta that is in power in Kiyv,” said Vassily Nebenzia.

UN chief urges Russia to cease military operations in Ukraine

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russia to end the attack on Ukraine.

“President Putin, in the name of humanity bring your troops back to Russia,” the secretary-general said.

“In the name of humanity do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century,” he said, adding the conflict “must stop now”.

Russia has launched full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv says

Russia has launched a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine and is targeting cities with weapons strikes, Ukraine’s foreign minister says.

“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” Kuleba tweeted. “This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.

Loud explosions heard in Kyiv: Al Jazeera correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Simmons, reporting from Kyiv, says at least seven “loud explosions” have been heard in Ukraine’s capital.

“It sounds like shell fire, but it could be air strikes,” Simmons said.

“Boryspil international airport came under attack … we’re not sure whether it was shelled or whether it’s an explosion,” he added. “We’ve heard sirens as well, so there’s definitely a full attack happening on the capital.”

NATO chief condemns Russia ‘attack’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Russia’s “reckless and unprovoked attack” on Ukraine.

He said the military alliances member states will meet to address Russia’s latest move, adding: “We stand with the people of Ukraine at this terrible time.”

“NATO will do all it takes to protect and defend allies,” he added.

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Ukraine urges UN ‘to do everything possible to stop the war’

Ukraine’s UN envoy has urged the world body’s Security Council to “stop the war”.

“I would like to ask the ambassador of the Russian delegation to say on the record that this very moment your troops do not shell and bomb Ukrainian cities, that your troops do not move in the territory of Ukraine,” Sergiy Kyslytsya said.

In response, Russia’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, said the attack was not a “war”. He claimed Moscow had launched a “military operation in the Donbas”.

Biden denounces ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ attack

The US president has denounced Moscow’s “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine, pledging the world will “hold Russia accountable”.

Biden said Russia alone is responsible for the “catastrophic loss of life and human suffering” to come, adding that he will address the nation on Thursday on ‘consequences’ for Russia.

Gunfire heard near Kyiv’s main airport: Report

Gunfire was heard near the main airport of Boryspil in Kyiv soon after Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine, Interfax has reported, citing local media.

Putin says Russia will conduct a military operation in eastern Ukraine

Putin has said Russia will conduct a “military operation” in Donbas and called on Ukraine’s military to lay down its arms.

“I have made the decision of a military operation,” he said in a surprise statement on television shortly before 6 am local time in Moscow (03:00 GMT).

Putin claimed the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia does not have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.

He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

US tells UN a ‘full-scale’ invasion of Ukraine is imminent

The US believes a “full-scale” further invasion of Ukraine by Russia is imminent, Washington’s ambassador to the UN has warned, saying this is a “perilous” moment.

“Tonight we’re seeing the Russians close airspace, move troops into Donbas, and move forces into combat-ready positions,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

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UN chief tells Putin: ‘Stop your troops from attacking Ukraine’

Guterres has made a personal appeal to Putin to stop his troops from entering Ukraine at an emergency UNSC meeting.

“President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine, give peace a chance, too many people have already died.”

Russia ally Cuba slams US over Ukraine crisis, urges diplomacy

Cuba, a close ally of Russia, has sharply criticised the US for imposing “the progressive expansion of NATO towards the borders of the Russian Federation” and called for a diplomatic solution to preserve international peace.

“The US government has been threatening Russia for weeks and manipulating the international community about the dangers of an ‘imminent massive invasion’ of Ukraine,” a Cuban statement said. “It has supplied weapons and military technology, deployed troops to several countries in the region, applied unilateral and unjust sanctions, and threatened other reprisals.”

The statement said “constructive and respectful dialogue” was necessary to resolve the Ukraine crisis.

Cyberattacks are about ‘undermining confidence in government’: Analyst

Cyberattacks are “about perception” and about “undermining confidence in the government,” Patrick Howell O’Neill, cybersecurity senior editor for MIT Technology Review, has said.

“At a moment like this, that’s pretty important,” O’Neill told Al Jazeera.

“Right now, we haven’t seen anything that would be dangerous to anyone’s lives or anyone’s physical wellbeing,” he said, referring to reports of a fresh cyber attack against Ukraine.

“Historically, especially in Ukraine, the way that Russian intelligence hackers have behaved, the things that they’ve done, are unlike anything any other country has every carried out,” O’Neill said.

A man is seen holding a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him

Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia airports in Ukraine closed until Thursday morning

Airports at Dnipro, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine are closed to traffic until Thursday morning, according to notices issued by local authorities.

No reason was provided for the closures, which are due to end between 05:00 and 06:35 GMT, depending on the airport.

Airlines should stop flying over all of Ukraine’s airspace – conflict zone monitor

Airlines should stop flying over any part of Ukraine because of the risk of an unintended shootdown or a cyberattack targeting air traffic control amid tensions with Russia, a conflict zone monitor has said.

Safe Airspace, which was set up to provide safety and conflict zone information for airlines after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, said it had increased its risk level to “do not fly”.

“Regardless of the actual movements of Russian forces into Ukraine, the level of tension and uncertainty in Ukraine is now extreme,” Safe Airspace said on its website. “This itself gives rise to significant risk to civil aviation.”

Russia partially shuts airspace near border with Ukraine

Russia has partially closed airspace in the Rostov flight information region to the east of its border with Ukraine “in order to provide safety” for civil aviation flights, according to a notice issued by authorities.

The notice lists specific route segments and altitudes to be avoided.

INTERACTIVE- Why do planes avoid Ukraine airspace

Blinken believes Russia will invade Ukraine before night is out

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told NBC News that he expected Russia to invade Ukraine before the night was over but still sees a chance to “avert a major aggression”.

“Everything seems to be in place for Russia to engage in a major aggression against Ukraine,” Blinken told US broadcaster NBC, adding he could not be precise about time or place.

G7 leaders to hold virtual meeting on Thursday

The Group of Seven (G7) world leaders will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, the White House has said.

UNSC to meet Wednesday night on Ukraine, diplomats say

The UNSC will convene for its second emergency session in three days over the crisis, “due to military developments” on the ground, diplomatic sources have said.

The meeting, which was requested by Kyiv, is scheduled for 9:30 pm local time in New York (02:30 GMT Thursday), the sources said.

EU sanctions Russian defence minister, military chiefs

The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu and military chiefs as part of a package of measures over the Kremlin’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent.

France’s Macron reiterates support for Ukraine’s sovereignty

French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity after a call with Zelenskyy, the Elysee Palace has said.

“[Macron] also praised the Ukrainian President’s composure in the current situation,” the French president’s office said in a statement.

Support that the EU can provide to Ukraine will be on the agenda of the meeting of the European Council on Thursday, the Elysee Palace added.

Ukraine president says nearly 200,000 Russian troops on border

Zelenskyy says Russia has massed nearly 200,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders.

On the Ukrainian border “nearly 200,000 soldiers are stationed, [as are] thousands of combat vehicles,” he said, adding that a “major war in Europe” could be started by Moscow soon.

Zelenskyy says Russia has approved an offensive against Ukraine

Zelenskyy has said Russia has approved an offensive against Ukraine and accused Putin of not replying to his invitation to hold talks.

“I initiated a telephone call with the president of the Russian Federation. Result: silence,” he said.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we come under attack that threaten our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back.”

Zelenskyy made the remarks in a 10-minute address posted on Telegram during which he spoke in both Ukrainian and Russian.

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Australia flags potential cyberattacks after Russia sanctions

Australia must prepare itself for likely cyberattacks from Russia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.

“Cyberattacks are a real threat, and they’re a present threat and that is the most likely response from Russia in terms of what we’ve done,” Morrison told Australian broadcaster Channel Nine when asked if he expected any retaliation from Russia over sanctions imposed on Moscow by Canberra.

He urged Australian businesses to bolster their cyber-defences. They may not get hit directly but there could be “collateral cyber-impacts” from computer viruses when deployed that can “take on a course of their own,” Morrison said.

France urges citizens to leave Ukraine ‘without delay’

France has become the latest Western nation to call on its citizens to leave Ukraine “without delay”.

“In the context of serious tensions caused by the concentration of Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders” as well as Russia’s recognition of two separatist regions and Ukraine’s imposition of a state of emergency, “French citizens finding themselves in Ukraine should leave the country without delay,” France’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ukraine requests urgent UN Security Council meeting

Kuleba says he has demanded an urgent meeting of the UNSC regarding Russian-backed separatists’ appeal to Russia for military assistance.

Images show new deployments in western Russia near Ukraine border

Satellite imagery showed a number of new deployments in western Russia, many of them within 16km (10 miles) of the border with Ukraine and less than 80km (50 miles) from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, a private US company has said.

Putin ‘tightening the screws on Ukraine’: Correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Moscow, says Putin is “continuing to tighten the screws on Ukraine”.

“He [Putin] says the two states that they have now recognised [the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics] are being recognised on embassy levels and Russia says it is also evacuating its diplomatic staff from Ukraine to protect their lives,” Smith said.

“Putin has also praised the battle-readiness of Russian troops,” he added.

White House says it is in contact with Ukraine over cybersecurity

Biden’s administration is in touch with Ukrainian authorities over their cybersecurity needs, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki says.

The websites of Ukraine’s government, foreign ministry and state security service were down on Wednesday in what the government said was the start of another massive denial of service attack.

“We are in conversations with Ukraine regarding their cyber-related needs including as recently as today and we’re going to move with urgency to assess the nature and extent of this, what steps need to be taken, and therefore a response,” Psaki said

Kremlin says Ukraine rebels have asked Russia for ‘help’ against Kyiv

The Kremlin has said the heads of east Ukraine’s rebel republics have asked Putin for “help” to “repel aggression” from the Ukrainian army.

In a statement carried by Russian state news agencies, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the separatist republics have petitioned Moscow “for help in repelling the aggression of the armed forces in Ukraine”.

White House says Putin is adapting, improvising after sanctions

Putin is improvising and having to adapt his Ukraine strategy following sanctions imposed by the West this week, Psaki has said.