Early Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine, warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.” As Putin spoke in the televised address, big explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other areas of Ukraine.
A war-like situation has begun in Ukraine, where for a while now the Russia-Ukraine borders have seen large deployments of Russian military columns. Putin’s announcement comes close on the heels of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that Russia will invade Ukraine within hours.
In his address, Putin said Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.” He further accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine. Putin said that all Ukrainian servicemen who lay down arms will be able to safely leave the zone of combat.
In a written statement condemning Putin’s announcement, President Joe Biden said he plans to speak to the American people Thursday after a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders. More sanctions against Russia are expected to be announced Thursday.
He added, “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”