President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is in response to threats.
He accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to stop Ukraine from joining NATO.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine as he vowed that the world will hold Russia and President Vladimir Putin accountable.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said in a statement after Putin announced military action against Ukraine.
Biden said he will address the nation on Thursday to announce additional steps the U.S. will take beyond sanctions already imposed.
Just minutes before, President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address overnight on Wednesday that Russia will conduct a military operation in eastern Ukraine.
Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy the country. Putin said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”
As Putin spoke, big explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine.
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Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
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.
Ukraine’s president declared martial law and urged citizens in the wake of Russia’s military strikes.
The strategic movement of Russian forces came as Ukraine prepared to implement a 30-day state of emergency on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy said late Tuesday that Ukraine wants “silence” but noted it must act. “But if we remain silent today, we will disappear tomorrow.”