As the Polish Press Agency reported at around: 5:00 our time: “Initial shelling of Ukraine is underway and will continue for several hours,” Fox News television reporter Jennifer Griffin reported, citing a source in the US administration. She added that Russian ground troops will enter Ukraine from all sides.”
– A US official told me: there is currently shelling going on ahead of the assault. We expect it to last several hours. Then there will be a massive ground attack using ALL the forces Putin has deployed. Explosions can be heard in Kyiv, Odesa, Mariupol” – reported Griffin on Twitter.
In turn, Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote that a naval landing on Mariupol is already underway, while Russian paratroopers are trying to take control of the airport so they can drop forces there and occupy Kyiv.
“Ground troops are entering from Belarus, Crimea and Russia,” – he added.
Moments after, Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at 5:50 Moscow time. He announced the start of a “military operation” in Ukraine. Explosions were reported to have been heard in Kyiv.
At around 6:00 am, Piotr Müller, spokesman for the Polish government, said on Twitter:
– In connection with Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the Committee for National Security and Defence Affairs has been convened with immediate effect and will begin its deliberations in a moment.
Before 7:00 am, information began to appear in various unofficial sources that the ground attack on Ukraine had already begun (including the participation of tanks from the Belarus area).
Rocket shelling against Ukrainian military facilities began at 5:00 am. According to the Interior Ministry, the Russians are attacking military facilities in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro. The sound of explosions can be heard from time to time in the Ukrainian capital.
As revealed already around 6:00 our time – there are reports of Russian troops landing from the Black Sea in Odesa and the Sea of Azov in Mariupol. Furthermore, according to some unconfirmed information, Russian troops are in the vicinity of Kharkiv.
Martial law has been imposed in the country. Ukraine has closed its airspace. The head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Dmytro Kuleba, appeals to the world for a strong response. As he wrote, Putin has launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, but Ukraine will defend itself and will prevail. At the same time, Russian separatists in Donbas have attacked troops and positions of Ukrainian forces.
On Thursday morning, the Polish consulate in Odessa is being evacuated, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukash Jasin said. “We remain in constant contact with our diplomatic missions,” he stressed.
Alarm sirens were heard twice in Kyiv this morning. Authorities are appealing to residents to stay indoors.
“Attention: an airborne threat has been registered! If the sirens are activated, we ask everyone to go to civilian shelters urgently” – the Kyiv authorities appeal.
The shelling of Mariupol, located in the occupation-free part of the Donetsk region, began even before the Kremlin leader’s speech.