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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine to fend off separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin ordered military operation in eastern Ukraine
“I have made a decision on a military operation,” Putin declared in an unexpected television message shortly before 03H00 GMT, denouncing an alleged Ukrainian-orchestrated “genocide” in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian leader, who justified his action by the pro-Russian separatists’ request for help and by NATO’s aggressive policy towards Moscow, also called on the Ukrainian military to “lay down their arms”.
Putin assured that he does not want the “occupation” of Ukraine, but its “demilitarization”.
Putin promises retaliation to those who interfere with Russian operation in Ukraine
The Russian president assured in his message of invasion of Ukraine that “any bloodshed will fall on the conscience “of the Ukrainian regime” and that “We are ready for all results. All decisions have been made.”
“A couple of words to those who would be tempted to intervene. Russia will respond immediately and will have consequences it has never had before in its history,” he added.
“I am sure that Russia’s soldiers and officers will do their duty with courage. The country’s security is guaranteed,” he said.
Putin did not specify the scale of the military operation, nor whether it was to be limited to rebel-held eastern Ukraine or beyond.
Ukrainian President unsuccessfully requested a meeting with Putin
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski said Wednesday that he unsuccessfully sought a conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as the crisis between the two countries enters its most dangerous phase.
“I initiated a telephone conversation with the president of the Russian Federation. Result: silence,” Zelenski declared in a message in the evening in which he assured that Russia has “almost 200 thousand soldiers positioned in thousands of combat vehicles” on the border with Ukraine.