Russia is proceeding with an invasion of Ukraine – and months of threats and fears appear to be culminating in the worst case scenario for Ukrainians and likely countless others in Eastern Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address that his country will commence a military operation in eastern Ukraine, warning that the interference of any countries will lead to “consequences they have never seen,” according to The Associated Press. Soon after, there were social media reports of blasts and explosions in cities across Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv, in what was described by President Joe Biden as an apparent “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.”
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said in a statement released late on Wednesday. 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. ”
The president added that he will address Americans sometime on Thursday to announce “the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”
Putin appeared to ignore last-minute pleas from United Nations representatives and the Ukrainian leader himself. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a recorded speech that he attempted to call Putin and was met with silence, but he vowed his country “will fight back” if attacked, according to the AP. UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked Russia in an emergency UN Security Council session to “give peace a chance,” noting that “too many people have already died,” the AP reported.