40 soldiers, 10 civilians killed, says Kyiv as it cuts ties with Moscow-World News , Firstpost

Russia-Ukraine crisis LIVE Updates: The AFP, meanwhile reported that Ukraine said it killed ‘around 50 Russian occupiers’ without providing details.

Russia-Ukraine crisis LATEST Updates: An adviser to Ukraine’s president says about 40 people have been killed so far in the Russian attack on the country, including 10 civilians.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday broke off Kyiv’s diplomatic relations with Moscow in response to Russia’s invasion of its Western-backed neighbour.

Ukraine Envoy Igor Polikha sought India’s intervention as armed conflict with Russia started this morning. Remarking that the situation may get out of control, Polikha said, “Modi ji is one of the most powerful, respected world leaders. You have a privileged, strategic relation with Russia. If Modiji speaks to Putin we are hopeful he’ll respond”.

Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday that his military is not taking part in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Kyiv said Moscow’s troops were entering the country from Belarusian territory.

Ukraine said that at least seven people were killed and nine wounded by Russian shelling, as per a Reuters report.

Russia’s ground forces on Thursday crossed into Ukraine from several directions, Ukraine’s border guard service said, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive.

Russia’s defence ministry said Thursday it had neutralised Ukrainian military airbases and its air defence systems, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military offensive against his country’s neighbour.

The Ukrainian military claimed on Thursday to have downed five Russian planes and a helicopter in the east of the country near a rebel-held enclave. “According to the Joint Forces Command, today, February 24, in the area of the Joint Forces operation, five planes and a helicopter of the aggressors were shot down,” the army general staff said.

Ukraine is coming under artillery attack along its northern border with Russia and Belarus, the border guard service said on Thursday, adding that Ukrainian forces were returning fire.

Moscow’s Stock Exchange said Thursday it was “suspending” trading Thursday, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a special military operation in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced martial law, saying Russia has targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure and explosions are heard across the country. Zelenskyy said he had just talked to President Joe Biden and the US was rallying international support for Ukraine. He urged Ukrainians to stay home and not to panic

Asian stock markets have plunged and oil prices surged after President Vladimir Putin announced Russian military action in Ukraine. Market benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul fell 2% and Hong Kong and Sydney lost more than 3% Thursday. Oil prices jumped nearly $3 per barrel on unease about possible disruption of Russian supplies.

Explosions were heard before dawn Thursday in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and the eastern port city of Mariupol, shortly after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced an operation to “demilitarise” the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

He said the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a claim the US had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion

In a televised address, Putin accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. He said Russia’s goal was not to occupy Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine and said the world will “hold Russia accountable.”

As Putin spoke, big explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine.

A full-blown Russian invasion could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government. And the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, affecting energy supplies in Europe, jolting global financial markets and threatening the post-Cold War balance on the continent.

He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine. Putin urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.”

Putin announced the military operation after the Kremlin said rebels in eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression.” The announcement immediately fueled fears that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war, just as the West had warned.

A short time later, the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and said a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian citizens. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

Zelenskyy said he asked to arrange a call with Putin late Wednesday, but the Kremlin did not respond.

In an apparent reference to Putin’s move to authorize the deployment of the Russian military to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine, Zelensky warned that “this step could mark the start of a big war on the European continent.”

“Any provocation, any spark could trigger a blaze that will destroy everything,” he said.

The United Nations Security Council quickly scheduled an emergency meeting on the night of 23 February, 2022, at Ukraine’s request. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the separatists’ request “a further escalation of the security situation.”

Anxiety about an imminent Russian offensive against its neighbor soared after Putin recognized the separatist regions’ independence on Monday, endorsed the deployment of troops to the rebel territories and received parliamentary approval to use military force outside the country. The West responded with sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rebel chiefs wrote to Putin on 23 February, 2022, pleading with him to intervene after Ukrainian shelling caused civilian deaths and crippled vital infrastructure.

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