Russia denies warplane downed over Ukraine
Moscow’s Ministry of Defense has released a statement denying reports that a Russian warplane was downed in Ukraine, insisting that it has taken out all the Eastern European nation’s air defenses, after the Kremlin ordered a “special military operation” across the border.
In an official announcement on Thursday, the ministry wrote, “The Ukrainian Border Service is providing no resistance to Russian divisions. The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ anti-air capabilities have been suppressed. The military infrastructure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ air bases is out of commission.”
The statement also claimed that reports in foreign media of a Russian plane brought down in Ukrainian territory are not true.
Earlier on Thursday, Kiev claimed that five Russian planes and one helicopter had been shot down in the Lugansk region, near the separatist-held territory which Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized as independent on Monday.
On Wednesday evening, the leaders of the newly recognized Lugansk People’s Republic and its neighbor the Donetsk People’s Republic formally requested military assistance from Russia. Hours later, Putin authorized the use of force for an offensive in the Donbass, and in a televised address to the nation, claimed that the goal was to “de-militarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Kiev's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has since announced that a “full scale” invasion of the country is underway. “This is a war of aggression,” he said in a statement. “Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared martial law in the country, urging citizens to stay calm and stay at home.
Foreign leaders have condemned Moscow’s actions, with US President Joe Biden saying that Russia had declared a “premeditated war” that would lead to “catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”