Videos purportedly show Russian offensive against Ukraine
Eyewitnesses across Ukraine have shared footage of Russian forces reportedly attacking locations including airports and power stations, after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to cross the border on Thursday morning.
One video, shared on Telegram, apparently shows a large explosion at the airport in Melitopol, in southeastern Ukraine.
A video confirmed as authentic by the Ukrainian authorities shows helicopters heading towards Antonov International Airport in Hostomel, also near Kiev. A large plume of smoke can be seen billowing in the distance.
Confirmed by Ukrainian authorities. A large air assault operation with Mi-8 helicopters on Antonov International Airport in Hostomel. Interior Ministry says Russia has seized control. Very dangerous; it’s just 15 minutes west of the capital ring road. pic.twitter.com/JhlyVktVRC— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 24, 2022
Russian forces entered Ukraine after Putin announced the launch of a mission to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country. The night before, the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – separatist states in eastern Ukraine that, on Monday, Putin had officially recognized as independent – had formally asked the Russian leader for military assistance.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has imposed martial law, and has asked citizens to remain calm and stay at home. In a statement, he called on the Russian people to oppose the war, saying, “Russians will choose personally which path each of them will take. For all who have not yet lost their conscience, it is time to go the streets and protest against this war.”
His foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, announced that Russia was not only advancing on the east of the country, but that there was a “full-scale attack from multiple directions.”
Western leaders have condemned the operation, with NATO calling it “entirely unjustified and unprovoked.” American and European officials have promised massive economic sanctions as retaliation against Moscow, but the US and the US-led military bloc have confirmed that they will not be sending soldiers in to fight against Russia.
The Russian authorities have warned that some media outlets and social network users have been spreading “unverified and unreliable” information about Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine, and claimed that forces have struck only military infrastructure, not civilian targets.