Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine and gave a chilling warning to its allies in the West in an early Thursday morning address in Moscow.
Explosions were heard in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, as Putin announced that Russia was launching a military attack on Ukraine.
‘To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside – if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,’ he said on a television broadcast around 6am Moscow time.
The United Nations Security Council had just convened an emergency meeting Wednesday night when Putin took to Russian airwaves to announce the invasion at 5:50am Moscow time.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, had urged Putin to stop his tanks.
‘If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart,’ said Guterres.
‘President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.’
Putin ignored the plea, going on TV to describe the invasion as a ‘special military occupation’ and said he wants to ‘demilitarize’ and ‘de-Nazify’, not occupy, the country.
He told Ukrainian service members to ‘lay down their arms and go home,’ saying Russia could not exist with a ‘constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine’ and clashes between Russian and Ukrainian solders was ‘inevitable.’