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Explosions Rock Ukrainian Cities as Russia Launches Military Operation

Putin says move to protect Donbas aimed at ‘demilitarization’ and ‘denazification,’ warns foreign countries against interfering; missiles said to hit Kyiv, Kharkiv and elsewhere
A still from a video purporting to show missile strikes in Dnipro, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. (screen capture: Twitter)
A still from a video purporting to show missile strikes in Dnipro, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. (screen capture: Twitter)

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard across the country, and Ukraine’s foreign minister warned a “full-scale invasion” was underway.

Weeks of intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter Putin, who had massed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.

Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.” Shortly after he spoke, large explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine.

Videos showed heavy artillery fire and what appeared to be missile strikes. The Ukrainian government said a Russian invasion had begun and military sites nationwide were being attacked. There were also unconfirmed reports of Russian ground troops moving into Odessa and Kharkiv. A CNN report said Russian troops were entering the country through Belarus, a Moscow ally.

After several hours, Russia’s defense ministry claimed it had neutralized Ukrainian military airbases and its air defense systems.

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