- Several explosions were heard in parts of Ukraine soon after Putin announced war on TV
- Russia has ruled out any threat to Ukranian civilians and said they were only targetting airbases
- Chaos was also witnessed on the streets of Kharkiv in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a special military operation in Ukraine, soon after which several explosions were heard in parts of the country. The first explosions sounded in Ukraine’s cities before dawn. Though Russia has ruled out any threat to Ukrainian civilians, residents in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv could be heard shouting on the streets when the first explosions sounded. But some kind of normalcy quickly returned, with cars circulating in the streets in the early morning commute.
Chaos was also witnessed on the streets of Kharkiv in Ukraine.
In an exclusive video shared to India TV Digital, locals and foreign nations in Ukraine's Kharkiv could be seen standing in long queues outside a mart. According to the details, people are now stocking up food items and other necessities, as Russia continues to carry out military operations in the country.
Long queues were also witnessed for refilling water and for withdrawing money from ATMs.
Another picture showed civilians in Kyiv taking refuge at an underground metro station.
Russia Ukraine War: How it began
Putin said the military operation was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine — a claim the US had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion.
Putin accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to block Ukraine from ever joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees.
Putin said Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine but will “demilitarize” it. Soon after his address, explosions were heard in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa. Russia said it was attacking military targets.
He urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.”
Ukraine’s border guard agency said the Russian military has attacked from neighboring Belarus, unleashing a barrage of artillery. The agency said Ukrainian border guards fired back, adding that there was no immediate report of casualties. Russian troops have been in Belarus for military drills.
At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Ukraine because of the imminent threat of a Russian invasion.
In opening the meeting just before Putin’s announcement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Putin: “Stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”
Guterres later pleaded with Putin, “In the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia.”