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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Russia has invaded Ukraine: what we know so far | Ukraine

Russian forces are attacking several locations across Ukraine. Here is what we know so far about the offensive:

  • Vladimir Putin launched a broad Russian military offensive targeting Ukraine at about 5am local time (3am GMT) on Thursday morning after broadcasting a speech announcing a “special military operation” to “demilitarise” and “denazify” Ukraine.

  • According to Ukrainian officials, the initial wave of strikes appeared to involve cruise missiles, artillery and airstrikes which struck military infrastructure and border positions, including airbases. Three hours into the attack the Russian defence ministry was claiming to have “neutralised” Ukraine’s airbases and air defences.

Russia-Ukraine crisis: Putin orders military operation in Ukraine – video
Russia-Ukraine crisis: Putin orders military operation in Ukraine – video
  • Although most of the airstrikes were concentrated to the east, strikes were also reported in the west of Ukraine including in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.

  • Ukrainian officials from the border guard service and elsewhere were also reporting an armoured incursion from Belarus through the Senkivka border crossing in the north of the country backed by Belarussian troops.

  • There were also reports of Russian troops crossing the border to the east of Kharkiv and Russian armour moving into Ukraine from the Crimea suggesting a three-pronged attack from north, south and east, with Reuters carrying video of Russian tanks in Mariupol.

  • However earlier reports of an amphibious landing in Odessa were denied by some Ukrainian officials.

  • At around 7am local time (5am GMT) – two hours into the assault – Russian-backed separatist rebels were reported to be attacking Ukrainian positions around the self-styled break away republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

  • Explosions were heard in cities including Odessa, Mariupol, Kharkiv, Dnipro and the capital Kyiv.

  • The full scope of the Russian military operation was not immediately clear but Putin said: “Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything by force.” However Putin and Russian officials have also repeatedly denied planning a military assault on Ukraine.

  • As explosions were heard around Kyiv, the city’s mayor ordered residents to take shelter and remain indoors as air sirens sounded.

Zelenskiy introduces martial law in Ukraine as sirens blare in Kyiv – video
Zelenskiy introduces martial law in Ukraine as sirens blare in Kyiv – video
  • In the immediate aftermath of the first wave of strikes, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced martial law had been declared across the country.

  • The Russian attack on Ukraine followed the declaration of a no-fly zone for civilian aircraft in the north-east of Ukraine via a so called Notam – notice to airmen – in the early hours of Thursday.

  • A few hours later Ukrainian officials announced the suspension of internal civilian air traffic as it appeared that some Russian strikes were close to Kyiv’s main civil airport. However, the Russian military said it had targeted Ukrainian airbases and other military assets, and had not targeted populated areas.

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