Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that his country severed diplomatic relations with Russia following its attack and declared martial law.
Ukrainian President severs diplomatic relations with Russia and declares martial law
Zelenskyy announced the decision today after Moscow launched a massive attack that included air and missile operations.
Sirens blared in the Ukrainian capital and people filled train stations and roads. The government of the former Soviet republic reported an anticipated invasion from the east, north and south and reported at least 40 dead and dozens wounded.
Ukrainian officials said the military is responding to the aggression and called for defense assistance from the West.
They also urged the population not to panic.
Meanwhile, they indicated that Russian troops were entering Ukraine and large explosions were heard in the capital, Kiev; Kharkiv, in the east; and Odessa, in the west.
“A full-scale war has started in Europe,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. “Russia is attacking not only Ukraine, but the norms of everyday life in the modern world.”
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy urged world leaders to provide assistance to Ukraine and help it protect its airspace. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “the world can and must stop Putin. This is the time to act.”
For his part, Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko advised the capital’s population to stay at home except to participate in essential tasks and urged them to prepare emergency luggage with documents and basic necessities in case they had to evacuate.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, said on Facebook that the Russian Army had fired missiles at Ukrainian military command centers, air bases and military depots in Kiev, Kharkiv and Dnipro.
The consequences of the conflict and subsequent sanctions against Russia began to reverberate around the world.
Russia vs. Ukraine: how the crisis was triggered
The crisis with Ukraine was triggered after Moscow saw its annexation as a NATO partner country as a threat to Russian sovereignty.
Russia is demanding guarantees from Western powers that Ukraine will remain a partner and will never be incorporated as a member country, which NATO is unwilling to offer.
NATO is a military alliance formed in 1949 by twelve countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France, which is committed to mutual and reciprocal assistance in the event of a military attack and today has 30 members.
It was created to curb the threat posed by the expansion of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in Europe after World War II.
But after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, several former Warsaw Pact countries – a NATO-like alliance led by Russia – became NATO members, which has put the Kremlin on the defensive as in the case of Ukraine, a country with a large presence of Russians with strong ties to their country. Putin considers it “his backyard”.