International

Russian President Putin Announces Military Operation in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to guard civilians.

In a televised address, Putin said the action comes in response to threats returning from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”

Putin warned different countries that any try to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they need never seen.”

He accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to stop Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. He said the Russian military operation aims to make sure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine.

Putin said all Ukrainian servicemen who lay down arms can be ready to soundly leave the zone of combat.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House to Putin’s remarks, but U.S. officers have repeatedly pledged to place overwhelming sanctions on the Russian economy and Putin allies in retaliation for a further invasion of Ukraine.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Kremlin said rebels in jap Ukraine asked Russia for military help Wednesday to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression,” an announcement that immediately fueled fears that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war, simply because the West had warned.

A short time later, the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and said a Russian invasion would value tens of thousands of lives.

“The individuals of Ukraine and the govt of Ukraine need peace,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian voters. “However if we come below attack, if we tend to face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our kids, we tend to will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

Zelenskyy said he asked to rearrange a decision with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday, however the Kremlin failed to respond.

In an understandable reference to Putin’s move to authorize the deployment of the Russian military to “maintain peace” in jap Ukraine, Zelensky warned that “this step could mark the start of a big war on the European continent.”

“Any provocation, any spark may trigger a blaze that can destroy everything,” he said.

He challenged the Russian propaganda claims, saying that “you’re told that this blaze can bring freedom to the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free.”

The United Nations Security Council quickly scheduled an emergency meeting Wednesday night at Ukraine’s request. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba known as the separatists’ requested “an additional escalation of the protection scenario.”

Anxiety concerning an imminent Russian offensive against its neighbor soared after Putin recognized the separatist regions’ independence on Monday, endorsed the deployment of troops to the rebel territories and received parliamentary approval to use military force outside the country. The West responded with sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rebel chiefs wrote to Putin on Wednesday, pleading with him to intervene once Ukrainian shelling caused civilian deaths and crippled very important infrastructure.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the separatists’ request for Russian help was an example of the kind of “false-flag” operation that the U.S. and its allies have expected Moscow to use as a pretense for war.

“So we have a tendency to’ll continue to decision out what we have a tendency to see as false-flag operations or efforts to spread misinformation about what the particular standing is on the ground,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian lawmakers approved a decree that imposes a nationwide state of emergency for thirty days beginning Thursday. The live allows authorities to declare curfews and different restrictions on movement, block rallies and ban political parties and organizations “within the interests of national security and public order.”

The action reflected increasing concern among Ukrainian authorities after weeks of attempting to project calm. The Foreign Ministry advised against travel to Russia and recommended that any Ukrainians who are there leave immediately.

“For a long time, we done without declaring a state of emergency … but today the situation has become a lot of difficult,“ Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council head Oleksiy Danilov told parliament, emphasizing that Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine represented the main threat.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the Russian force of more than one hundred fifty,00zero troops arrayed along Ukraine’s borders is in a complicated state of readiness. “They are ready to go right currently,” Kirby said.

The latest pictures released by the Maxar satellite image company showed Russian troops and military equipment deployed within 10 miles of the Ukrainian border and less than fifty miles from Ukraine’s second-largest town, Kharkiv.

Early Thursday, airspace over all of Ukraine was shut right down to civilian air traffic, in keeping with a notice to airmen. A commercial flight tracking web site showed that an Israeli El Al Boeing 787 flying from Tel Aviv to Toronto turned abruptly out of Ukrainian airspace before detouring over Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. The only other aircraft tracked over Ukraine was a U.S. RQ-4B World Hawk unmanned surveillance plane, that began flying westward early Thursday when Russia put in place flight restrictions over Ukrainian territory.

Another wave of distributed-denial-of-service attacks hit Ukraine’s parliament and alternative government and banking websites on Wednesday, and cybersecurity researchers said unidentified attackers had also infected tons of computers with damaging malware.

Officers have long said they expect cyberattacks to precede and accompany any Russian military incursion, and analysts said the incidents hew to a nearly 2-decade-old Russian playbook of wedding cyber operations with real-world aggression.

In other developments, Russia evacuated its embassy in Kyiv; Ukraine recalled its ambassador to Russia and considered breaking all diplomatic ties with Moscow, and dozens of countries further squeezed Russian oligarchs and banks out of international markets.

President Joe Biden allowed sanctions to move forward against the corporate that designed the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream a pair of gas pipelines and against the company’s CEO.

“As I have made clear, we have a tendency to will not hesitate to take any steps if Russia continues to escalate,” Biden said in a very statement.

Germany said Tuesday that it was indefinitely suspending the project after Biden charged that Putin had launched “the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” by sending troops into the separatist regions. The pipeline is complete but has not nevertheless begun operating.

Putin said Tuesday that he had not nonetheless sent any Russian troops into the rebel regions, contrary to Western claims, and Donetsk rebel leader Denis Pushilin insisted Wednesday there were no Russian troops within the region, while a native council member claimed the day prior to this that they had moved in.

Already, the specter of war has shredded Ukraine’s economy and raised the specter of massive casualties, energy shortages across Europe and global economic chaos.

European Union sanctions against Russia took effect, targeting many firms together with 351 Russian lawmakers who voted for a motion urging Putin to recognize the rebel regions and 27 senior government officials, business executives and high military officers.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has shrugged off the sanctions, saying that “Russia has proven that, with all the prices of the sanctions, it’s in a position to attenuate the damage.”

In Ukraine’s east, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 6 a lot of wounded when rebel shelling, the Ukrainian military said Wednesday. Separatist officers reported many explosions on their territory overnight and three civilian deaths.

Facing a barrage of criticism at the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, warned Ukraine that Russia can monitor a cease-fireplace within the east and emphasized that “no one intends to travel softly, softly with any violators.”

“A new military adventure” by Kyiv “may price the whole of Ukraine terribly dearly,” he warned ominously.

Once weeks of rising tensions, Putin’s steps this week dramatically raised the stakes. He recognized the independence of the separatist regions, a move he said extends even to the massive parts of the territories now held by Ukrainian forces and had parliament grant him authority to use military force outside the country.

Putin laid out 3 conditions that he said might end the standoff, urging Kyiv to renounce its bid to join NATO, to partially demilitarize and to acknowledge Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Ocean peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine long has rejected such demands.

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Litvinova reported from Moscow. Angela Charlton in Paris; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Lorne Cook in Brussels, Frank Bajak in Boston, Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Ellen Knickmeyer, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed.

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