LIVE UPDATES: NATO to Deploy More Land, Air, Maritime Assets to Eastern Europe
From The Epoch Times By February 24, 2022
Russia launched an attack on Ukraine by land, air and sea in the early hours of Thursday, Ukraine local time, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”
Putin said the operation seeks to defend Moscow against what he alleged were threats from Ukraine, and to protect civilians and demilitarize Ukraine.
Within hours of Putin’s announcement, the Russian military claimed to have incapacitated all of Ukraine’s air defenses and air bases.
Ukraine’s leadership said at least 40 people had been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war,” with multiple cities and bases targeted with airstrikes or shelling from the east, north and south.
In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law.
Ukrainians and residents have begun to flee some cities, piling into cars and various modes of public transport.
Update: Feb. 24 12:45 p.m. Ukraine local time
NATO to Deploy More Land, Air, Maritime Assets to Eastern Europe
NATO announced it is deploying more assets to Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s decision to mount what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” in Ukraine early on Thursday.
“Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and they will have geostrategic consequences. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all Allies,” the statement from the 30-member alliance said in a statement.
“We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the Alliance, as well as additional maritime assets. We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.”
Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Russia's attack on Ukraine#NATO | #Ukraine 🇺🇦 | #StopRussianAggression
— NATO (@NATO) February 24, 2022
Ukraine Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Russia, Says at Least 40 Killed
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country has cut diplomatic ties with Russia after it was attacked. The announcement comes after Russia launched a massive air and missile attack on its neighbor and Russian forces were seen rolling into Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials say the country’s military is fighting back and asked for Western defense assistance.
Russian forces have launched an attack on Ukraine from the north, east and south, according to a Ukrainian presidential adviser.
The adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said “the Ukrainian military is fighting hard.”
Podolyak said Thursday that “our army is fighting back inflicting significant losses to the enemy.” He said that there have been civilian casualties, but didn’t give details.
He said that “Ukraine now needs a greater and very specific support from the world—military-technical, financial as well as tough sanctions against Russia,” he said.
Oleksii Arestovich, another Ukrainian presidential adviser, said Thursday that several dozen people—about 40 so far—have been killed. He didn’t specify whether the casualties included civilians.
Zelensky said the Ukrainian authorities will hand weapons to all those willing to defend the country.
“The future of the Ukrainian people depends on every Ukrainian,” he said, urging all those who can defend the country to come to the Interior Ministry’s assembly facilities.
Update: Feb. 24 11:45 a.m. Ukraine local time
US Lawmakers, World Leaders Condemn Russia’s Attack of Ukraine
Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the United States and leaders from around the world have condemned Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified attack” of Ukraine on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the country.
Read the full story here
Update: Feb. 24 11:25 a.m. Ukraine local time
8 Dead, 14 Wounded as Russia Launches Full-Scale Invasion of Ukraine: Officials
Moscow-led attacks on military units in Ukraine killed at least eight people and wounded 14 others, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement Thursday that six people were killed and seven were wounded in a bombing incident in the city of Podolsk, in the Odessa province, noting that 19 people were still missing.
Russia’s ministry of defense issued a statement saying that its military is targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure.
Zelenskyy has directed the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny, to “inflict maximum losses against the aggressor,” according to AFP.
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Update: Feb. 24, 10:45 a.m., Ukraine local time
Oil Surges Above $100 After Putin Orders Military Action Against Ukraine
Oil prices surged above the $100 per barrel mark on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of military action against Ukraine.
U.S. crude futures were up by 5.46 percent and trading at $97.56 per barrel as of 10:27 a.m. GMT, while Brent crude futures were up 6.47 percent at $103.32, the first time they have been over the $100 mark since 2014.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices at one point surged nearly 6 percent.
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Update: Feb. 24, 9:45 a.m., Ukraine local time
Kyiv Sees Gridlock Traffic As Inhabitants Seek to Leave
The roads out of Kyiv have filled with cars bumper-to-bumper on Thursday morning as inhabitants seek to flee to safer areas, even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had advised people to stay at home unless they are involved in critical work.
Update: Feb. 24, 8:57 a.m., Ukraine local time
US Embassy in Kyiv Tells US Citizens in Ukraine to Shelter in Place
The U.S. embassy in Kyiv issued an announcement advising U.S. citizens in Ukraine to shelter in place amid reports of Russian attacks in multiple cities, including Kyiv.
“There are reports of Russian attacks on targets in a number of major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Mariupol,” the embassy said on Twitter.
Americans were also advised to “immediately seek cover” if they hear a loud explosion or sirens are activated.
“If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings. If you are outdoors, immediately seek cover in a hardened structure; if that is not possible, lie down and cover your head with your hands.
“Be aware that even if the incoming missile or drone is intercepted, falling debris represents a significant risk. After the attack, stay away from any debris, and monitor major news outlets for official guidance.
“Further Russian military action can occur at any time without warning. U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space.”
Update: Feb. 24, 7 a.m.—7:30a.m. Ukraine local time
Ukraine Declares Martial Law; Zelensky Building ‘Anti-Putin’ Coalition
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced martial law early Thursday morning local time.
In a short video address to the nation, Zelensky said that Russia has conducted strikes on Ukraine’s military infrastructure and border guards, adding that explosions have been heard in “many cities of Ukraine.”
He said he had just spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden and that the United States is planning to more send military assistance to Kyiv.
Zelensky also urged Ukrainians to keep calm and remain at home.
“We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defense and security is working,” he said.
Separately, the Ukrainian president urged global leaders to provide defense assistance to Ukraine.
He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has unleashed a war with Ukraine and the entire democratic world.” He added that the Russian leader “wants to destroy our state, everything that we have built.”
“I talked to [US President Joe] Biden, [UK Prime Minister Boris] Johnson, [President of the European Council] Charles Michel, [Polish President Andrzej] Duda, [Lithuanian President Gitanas] Nauseda. We started putting together an anti-Putin coalition,” he added. “I have already urged global leaders to slam Putin with all possible sanctions, offer large-scale defense support and close the airspace over Ukraine for the aggressor. Together we must save Ukraine, save the democratic world, and we will do it.”
Update: Feb. 24, 6:14 a.m. Ukraine local time
Rubio: Russian Invasion of Ukraine Underway, Russia Trying to Take Control of Kyiv Airport
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, in multiple statements via Twitter, said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is underway, adding that Russian forces are trying to take control of the airport in Kyiv.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now underway,” he said. “In the hours to come Russia will: conduct strikes on air defense systems; move to cut off Kyiv from eastern Ukraine; move to cut off Ukraine’s military forces on the line of contact in the east to prevent them from falling back to defend Kyiv.”
In another post, Rubio wrote that Russia was “establishing air superiority via targeted surgical strikes,” “a pincer movement to trap Ukrainian forces in the east [and] cut them off from Kyiv,” and “finally attempt to decapitate Ukrainian govt by targeting govt buildings, leaders & command & control systems.”
He added, “Russia’s airborne forces are attempting to take control of the airport in Kyiv [so] they can fly in forces to occupy the [capital] city.”
“An amphibious assault on the key port city of Mariupol is now underway,” he added. “Ground forces now moving in from Belarus, Crimea, and from Russia.”
Ukraine announced early Thursday that passengers and staff have been evacuated from Kyiv airport.
Update: Feb. 24, 5:30 a.m–6:50 a.m. Ukraine local time
Explosions Reported in Ukraine’s Capital, Other Cities
Shortly after Putin’s address, explosions were reported in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as in other cities, including Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Odesa.
Later, livestream video obtained by CNN shows tanks rolling into Ukraine from a border crossing with Belarus at around 6:48 a.m. local time.
Read the full story here
Update: Feb. 24, 5:00 a.m. Ukraine local time
Putin Declares ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday.
Putin said in an emergency televised address that the military operation is intended to protect civilians and to demilitarize Ukraine, and is a response to threats coming from Ukraine.
He said that Russia doesn’t plan to occupy Ukraine and said that the Ukrainian military should “immediately lay down its arms.”
Update: Feb. 24, 3:00 a.m. Ukraine local time
Ukraine Closes Airspace to Civilian Flights
Citing a high risk to safety, Ukraine’s State Air Traffic Services Enterprise confirmed it closed the country’s airspace at 2:45 a.m. local time.
Meanwhile, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warned of a high riskto civilian aircraft over Ukraine, as well as bordering areas of Russia and Belarus, reminding air operators that “this is now an active conflict zone.”
“Under these circumstances, the aforementioned airspace and critical infrastructure, including airports, are exposed to military activities which result in safety risks for civil aircraft. In particular, there is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft,” the agency said.
EASA said Russia’s defence ministry had sent Ukraine an urgent message warning of a high risk to flight safety, due to the use of weapons and military equipment from 2:45 a.m. local time, and asked Ukraine’s air traffic control to stop flights.
The situation is developing, please check back for updates.