LIVE UPDATES: Loud explosions heard in multiple cities in Ukraine, Russian troops land in Odessa, martial law announced (Updated: 5.30pm)

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24th February 2022 – (Kyiv) Several loud explosions were heard near Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine 15 minutes ago. Bombing was suspected to have taken place near Boryspil International Airport. Several rounds of explosions were also heard in Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine located in the country’s northeast.

According to state-run news agencies RIA-Novosti and TASS, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on national TV today that Russia has commenced military action in Donbas and to ‘demilitarise’ Ukraine. He urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and go home. Putin warned that all responsibility for any potential bloodshed will be on the conscience of the Ukrainian government, and said he was confident Russian service members will fulfill their duty.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin said on national TV that his plans are not to occupy Ukraine.

In response, U.S President Joe Biden released a statement:

“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.” Biden will meet up with other G7 members this morning. More sanctions will be announced shortly.

Putin spoke on National TV (Russia 24)

LIVE UPDATES

5.30pm – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday (24th) that Ukraine will cut diplomatic relations with Russia.

4.33pm – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said the Belarusian armed forces were not involved in Russia’s military operations against Ukraine.

4.28pm – The Russian Ministry of Defence stated that reconnaissance data showed that troops and soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces laid down their weapons on a large scale and evacuated their positions. Donetsk leader Pushrin said that Ukrainian coalition command of Donbass operations almost destroyed

4.25pm – European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised to “weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernise” following the “barbaric attack” by Moscow against Ukraine.

3.50pm – NATO member states Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have triggered NATO Article Four to launch consultations within the alliance over their security concerns. 

3.10pm – Russian military vehicles have entered Ukraine via Crimea.

2.59pm – The United States Embassy in Kyiv warned Americans in Ukraine to seek shelter due to Russian attacks in a number of major Ukrainian cities. The Chinese Embassy also warned its citizens to place the Chinese flag on their vehicles for safety.

2.50pm – Russian military claimed that Ukraine’s border service “did not resist: during Russian invasion.

The statement also claimed the Russian military had “suppressed” Ukraine’s air defenses. 

2.30pm – U.S. diplomatic missions have suspended consular operations in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

2.25pm – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to Ukrainians all over the world to speak up and urge action from their leaders. He said, “Ukraine will defend itself. Ukraine will win”. Meanwhile, A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Russia’s military action as an “act of war” in a statement posted to Facebook.

2.23pm – Russia’s Defence Ministry says Ukrainian air defences are under control.

2.19pm – In Russia, flights are suspended at airports in Rostov, Krasnodar, Anapa, Gelendzhik, Elista, Stavropol, Belgorod, Bryansk, Oryol, Kursk, Voronezh and Simferopol, Crimea.

2.05pm – The Ukrainian army claimed that it shot down five Russian military planes and a helicopter over the eastern Luhansk region. Russian military denied the incident.

2.03pm – The mayor of Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, has urged citizens to stay home as explosions and sounds of artillery are reported across the country.

1.56pm – Russian military vehicles captured on CCTV footage  entering Ukraine via Belarus border at around 6.48am local time. 

1.55pm – Air raid sirens were heard at around 7.45am local time (12:45 a.m. ET).

1.35pm – At around 5am today, the state border of Ukraine was attacked by Russian troops supported by Belarus. Attacks are being carried out in Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr regions 

1.05pm – Martial law was announced in Ukraine by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

12.58pm – China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, called on all parties involved in the Ukraine-Russia crisis to “stay cool headed and rational.”

12.47pm – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked Russia to stop its military action immediately as it could be the worst war since the beginning of the century.” U.S. Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky  are currently talking on the phone.

12.40pm – Putin threatened “those who may be tempted to intervene” on Russia’s military action.

12.38pm – An adviser for the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko announced that Russian troops have landed in the city Odessa and are crossing the border in the city of Kharkiv. There were missile strikes on the Vasilkovsky airfield near Kyiv. 

12.22pm – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that Russia “has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”

12.18pm – The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN urged other member nations to “stop the war” while Russian ambassador responded, “This isn’t called a war, this is called a special military operation in Donbas.”

12.14pm – The US Ambassador to the United Nations said Putin had “delivered a message of war”.

12.10pm – Explosions have been heard in Boryspil area, east of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, Black Sea Port in Odessa and Zaporizhzhia. Artillery fire was also heard in Kharkiv.

12pm – The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya, justified Russia’s action to conduct military action in the Donbas during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

11.50am – All airlines and other civilian flights instructed to avoid Ukrainian airspace.  European aviation regulators warned that there “high risk” to civilian aircraft near the Ukrainian border as they may be shot down by Russian forces.

11.48am – Russian president Putin continued on National TV that the circumstances required Russia to take immediate action after The People’s Republics of Donbas asked for help. Hence, in accordance with Article 51, part 7 of the UN Charter, with the sanction of the Federation Council and in pursuance of the friendship treaties ratified by the Federal Assembly and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, Putin said he has decided to conduct a special military operation.” 

Explosion in Kharkiv

11.43am – Explosions also heard at Kramatorsk. Several explosions in the Boryspil area near the international airport were heard.

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