Putin attacks Ukraine: Russia takes control of Chernobyl plant, claims to have “disabled” 83 Ukrainian military targets

Ukraine warPhoto: AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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In the middle of the night, around 4 AM Norwegian time, in an extraordinary television address, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Putin announced the attack on Ukraine during an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council.

Ukraine has closed its airspace to civilian flights.

Norway Today’s live feed of the events that unfolded in Ukraine from 7:00 AM CET to 8:45 PM CET can be found below. The feed is no longer active.

FEED:

20:45 PM: US President Joe Biden announced that the US would send more troops to Germany. According to the news agency AFP, an official in the US Department of Defense stated that around 7,000 soldiers would be sent to Germany.

8:10 PM: President Joe Biden says that the United States will not send troops to Ukraine but that the country will defend every inch of NATO member state territory. Read more…

8:01 PM: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says that NATO is determined to prevent an expansion of the crisis that Russia has started in Ukraine.

7:53 PM: The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) warns that the Chernobyl plant, its sarcophagus, and the surrounding areas may be affected by military clashes or operations, leading to a spread of radioactive pollution. Read more…

“This could have consequences in the immediate area,” the DSA warned.

7:44 PM: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced the evacuation of foreign observers from eastern Ukraine.

The evacuation is temporary, OSCE Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid said in a statement on Thursday.

“As a result of ongoing fighting and the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine, I have decided to temporarily evacuate all foreign members of the mission as soon as possible,” Schmid said.

7:39 PM: More than 700 people have been arrested in demonstrations against the Ukraine war in more than 20 cities in Russia, according to the organization OVD-Info.

7:29 PM: The last of the Norwegian embassy staff from Ukraine has been transferred back home to Norway due to the security situation. The embassy is now temporarily closed.

7:25 PM: Russia claims to have “disabled” 83 Ukrainian military facilities. In addition, the Russian Ministry of Defense claims that Russia has taken down four planes and a drone during its so-called special military operation, the news agency Tass reports.

7:20 PM: The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church called for the civilian population of Ukraine to be protected during the war – but without demanding a halt to the attack.

“All parties must do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties,” Patriarch Kirill said in a statement on Thursday.

7:15 PM: Russian forces have captured the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an adviser to the President of Ukraine told Reuters. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podoljak called the attack pointless and described it as one of the most serious threats in Europe today. The information has not been confirmed from another source. Read more…

7:05 PM: On Thursday night, Oslo City Hall was illuminated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag as a symbolic act of solidarity with Ukraine. Read more…

Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

6:39 PM: Due to the war in Ukraine, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate has decided to raise the security level in the northern part of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea. Read more…

6:28 PM: Local authorities in the province of Kherson in southern Ukraine state that 13 civilians were killed after Russia launched the invasion on Thursday night. Nine Ukrainian soldiers have also been killed in fighting with Russian forces, the county administration said. They also state that Russian soldiers have taken control of border stations between the mainland and the Crimean peninsula and a road across the river Dnipro, according to AFP.

6:01 PM: Local authorities in Ukraine say they have lost control of two counties, Kherson and Henitshsk, in the south of the country, according to the DPA.

According to Ukrainian sources, Russian forces have taken control of a canal and a hydropower plant in the south of the country. There are fears that Russia will also invade the port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine.

5:52 PM: Sweden is moving its embassy from Lviv in Ukraine to Poland due to the security situation, Foreign Minister Ann Linde (S) said at a press conference on Thursday.

5:51 PM: Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that there was no other way to defend Russia than to invade neighboring Ukraine. On Thursday afternoon, Putin also said that Russia does not want to undermine the global economic system.

5:45 PM: The leaders of the G7 countries called the Russian invasion of Ukraine an unprovoked and completely unjustified attack.

“This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based world order, with ripple effects far beyond Europe,” the G7 wrote in a statement.

“This has completely changed the Euro-Atlantic security situation,” the GZ added.

At the same time, the leaders promise to deal with any disruptions in energy supplies as a result of the conflict.

“We are closely following the conditions in the world’s oil and gas markets.”

The G7 consists of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan.

5:40 PM: Dozens of people in Moscow and St. Petersburg demonstrating against the Ukraine war have been arrested, AFP reports.

5:30 PM: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj promised to retake the Hostomel military airport, located 25 kilometers from the center of Kyiv, from Russian forces. Read more…

5:15 PM: The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv has declared a curfew after the Russian invasion of the country. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko, former world champion in heavyweight boxing, says the curfew will last between 10 PM in the evening and 7 AM local time. Public transport will not be available during this period, but metro stations will be open for use as bomb shelters.

4:50 PM: Moscow promises that it will respond to the sanctions from the EU and the US in kind, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted on Thursday.

4:30 PM: Kyiv reportedly declared a curfew in connection with the Russian invasion of the country. No further details have been released about the curfew.

Kyiv evacuation
Photo: AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti

4:25 PM: Kyiv’s 2.8 million inhabitants have been asked to enter bomb shelters if possible due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to DPA. A state of emergency has been imposed in the city since 5:30 local time by order of President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, initially for 30 days.

4:15 PM: Russian forces have moved into an area near the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to Ukrainian authorities. Read more…

3:55 PM: Four people have been killed and ten wounded after Russian forces attacked a civilian hospital with artillery, Ukrainian authorities claim. NBC News writes that Ukrainian authorities reported the attack on their channel on Telegram. Six doctors are allegedly among the injured.

3:25 PM: Russian and Ukrainian forces are fighting for control of Hostomel military airport, located 25 kilometers from central Kyiv, according to Ukrainian Chief of Defense Valery Zaluzhnij.

Earlier, several sources reported that Russian forces had taken over the airport. There are now dozens of attack helicopters in the area, according to the news agency AFP.

3:10 PM: Norway is bringing back the remaining embassy staff from Ukraine back home due to the security situation. Read more…

Anniken Huitfeldt
Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

2:55 PM: Ukraine’s ambassador to Norway, Jatsiuk Viatsjeslav, is asking for support to strengthen the Ukrainian defense and hopes Norway will change its legislation to be able to help.

“Ukraine appreciates sympathy and support, but we need more than that. We need practical support; we need tangible support,” Viatsjeslav said.

He asked Norway to change the law on arms exports, which prevents Norway from selling weapons to countries at war, in order to send military support to Ukraine.

“We know about the existing obstacles in Norwegian legislation. At the same time, we truly believe that this is a crucial moment for all of us, and we must all show the political will to stand together, and even the most enshrined legislation can be changed. If there is a will, it is possible to make it happen. We need this support from Norway,” he said. Read more…

2:40 PM: Russian authorities are asking countries in the West to maintain ties with Russia despite the fact that the country has attacked Ukraine.

2:20 PM: The government will send humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Ukraine. It is increasing emergency aid by NOK 200 million.

2:15 PM: Norway will join the new sanctions against Russia that the EU is planning, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) said on Thursday. Read more…

Jonas Gahr Støre - Ukraine
Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

2:05 PM: According to Ukraine’s emergency services, five people lost their lives after a Ukrainian military plane was shot down on Thursday, Sky News reports. 

1:45 PM: French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Russia’s military action against Ukraine and stepped up support for the Ukrainians.

France will further strengthen “all forms of support” for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on Thursday.

1:35 PM: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, warns that “our worst fears have come true” in the situation between Russia and Ukraine.

“President Putin has triggered war on our European continent. Countless missiles and bombs have rained down on a completely innocent population,” Johnson said in a televised speech to the British people on Monday.

He says the UK will implement a massive sanctions package aimed at harming the Russian economy.

1:30 PM: The price of a bushel of wheat, which is equivalent to 17.4 liters, rose more than 5% on Thursday to just under USD 935, about NOK 6,000, the highest level since 2012. Russia is among the world’s largest wheat producers. But the price of wheat is under double pressure, as Ukraine is also among the world’s largest wheat producers. Russia and Ukraine together account for 25% of all wheat exports in the world.

1:20 PM: Black smoke is rising from the headquarters of the military intelligence service in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, but the building was apparently not attacked.

According to the news agency Reuters, a large fire has been lit outside the building, and eyewitnesses say that uniformed people threw bags with unknown contents on the fire.

1:10 PM: There are Russian forces in the Kyiv region, the Ukrainian border guard told the AFP news agency. Other reports indicate that Russian forces have taken control of Hostomel Airport, which is located just over 25 kilometers from the center of the Ukrainian capital.

1:05 PM: The EU heads of state and governments say they will impose sanctions that will have massive and serious consequences for Russia. Read more…

Josep Borrell - Ursula von der Leyen
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool Photo via AP

12:50 PM: Black smoke is rising from the headquarters of the military intelligence service in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. The news agency Reuters’ photo from the site does not show major damage to the building, but the lower floor of the building appears to have been hit by a rocket or artillery impact.

Ukrainian authorities said earlier on Thursday that several of the country’s military command centers were hit by Russian rockets in the morning, according to the BBC.

12:45 PM: Norway’s Green Party leader Une Bastholm called the invasion of Ukraine “brutal” and “criminal.” She describes the Russian invasion as a clear violation of international law.

12:40 PM: At least 18 people have been killed in rocket attacks on the village of Lipetskoye in the Odesa region, according to local authorities, Sky News and a Ukrainian online newspaper report.

The mayor of the city of Brovary, near Kyiv, says six people have been killed in the city. Earlier on Thursday, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that 40 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed so far following Russia’s attack.

The death toll in connection with the invasion has not been confirmed independently.

12:35 PM: Turkey condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Turkey is a NATO country, but at the same time, it has close ties to Russia. The country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had a good relationship with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and has previously offered to mediate in the Ukraine conflict.

Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday, Turkey called the attack “unjustified and illegal.”

12:30 PM: Russia’s attacks on targets in Ukraine will continue for as long as necessary, a spokesman for the Kremlin’s leadership said.

12:10 PM: NATO condemned Russia’s “horrific attack” on Ukraine. It also condemned Belarus for making the attack possible.

12:05 PM: The attack on Ukraine is driving up gas prices. Together with less wind, it could lead to the power price in Southern Norway increasing by 25% next week, power analyst Olav Johan Botnen in Volue Insight believes. Read more…

11:54 AM: A little after 11 o’clock on Thursday morning, the news agency AFP reported that Moldova is closing its airspace.

11:51 AM: Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko says Belarus’s forces are ready to help Russia in Ukraine. Belarussian forces could potentially join the offensive Russia has launched against Ukraine if they deem it necessary, Lukashenko was quoted as saying by Reuters, quoting Belarussian news agency Belta. Read more…

11:44 AM: Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson condemned the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Today, a new and dark chapter in Europe’s history began,” Andersson said on Thursday after Russia invaded Ukraine.

11:36 AM: On Thursday morning, Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre spoke with the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö about the security situation following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

On Thursday morning, Niinistö also spoke with the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

“A common view of the dangerous situation, a strong commitment to the Nordic community,” Niinistö summed up the calls.

11:34 AM: An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj says 40 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far after Russia’s invasion, according to the news agency Interfax Ukraine, which quotes adviser Oleksi Arestovich. In addition, dozens of soldiers have been wounded. The news agency Reuters also reports the same number of deaths. Read more…

11:28 AM: Ukraine has cut all diplomatic ties with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech on Thursday, according to Sky News. Read more…

11:22 AM: Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a dark day for Europe, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said On Thursday.

“It is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe,” Scholz said in connection with a meeting in the EU.

The member states will meet to discuss further sanctions and stricter penalties against Russia on Thursday.

“The attack is an obvious violation of international law. It can not be justified in any way,” Scholz added.

11:20 AM: Kristian Åtland at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment fears that the Ukraine conflict will expand geographically and in intensity – and lead to a major war. Read more…

11:05 AM: Norway’s Red Party strongly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “This is a gross and unacceptable violation of international law,” Rødt’s leader Bjørnar Moxnes said on Thursday.

He demanded that Russia stop the attack and withdraw its military forces.

11:00 AM: The Ukrainian government claims to have killed “about 50 Russian occupiers” in battles around the country. The message has not yet been confirmed by independent sources or commented on by Moscow. Read more…

Ukraine war 2
Russia has launched a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukraine early Thursday, and Ukrainian officials said that Russian troops have rolled into the country from the north, east, and south. Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Grits

10:50 AM: “Norway must help Ukraine both militarily and economically,” Ukraine’s ambassador Vyacheslav Jatsuk believes. “It is urgent,” he emphasizes. Read more…

10:42 AM: The governments of Lithuania and Moldova request the introduction of a state of emergency due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Gitan Nauseda of Lithuania has signed a decree imposing a state of emergency in the country, which must be approved by parliament.

“Even today, I want to say to the Russian people and president – it is still possible to stop this,” Nauseda said.

“We have established that the government will ask the parliament to declare a state of emergency,” the Office of the Moldovan President Maia Sandu wrote.

In addition, Moldova is preparing for major humanitarian challenges.

10:40 AM: On Saturday this week, several support markings for Ukraine are planned in Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, and Trondheim. Read more…

10:25 AM: The leader of the Ukrainian breakaway republic of Donetsk believes Russia’s military operations in Ukraine will be over soon.

“The liberation will go fairly quickly,” Denis Pusjilin, the leader of the separatist-controlled part of Donetsk since 2014, said.

“This will soon end,” he added.

10:24 AM: The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration says it is following the situation in Ukraine closely and is considering ongoing measures for Ukrainian citizens in Norway.

“With regard to asylum arrivals, we have not seen an increase as a result of the situation in Ukraine, but the UDI is at all times prepared to handle increased arrivals of asylum seekers,” a press release from the UDI stated.

10:15 AM: Norway’s Christian Democrats (KRF) condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“It’s a dark day for Europe. We stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and strongly condemn Russia’s attack,” KRF leader Olaug Bollestad stated.

“The KRF is concerned about how Russia’s attacks on the neighboring country will affect civilians – innocent children, women, and men.”

She emphasizes that Norway must stand together with European allies and NATO countries in a clear reaction and sanctions against Russia.

10:05 AM: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered his forces to repel the Russian invasion in full force, the country’s army announced. Read more…

Russia has moved into Ukraine, and Zelenskyj is asking his countrymen to fight back in defense of their fatherland.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has ordered maximum casualties to be inflicted on the attacking party,” Major General Valery Zaluzhny said.

Ukraine war
Damaged radar arrays and other equipment are seen at the Ukrainian military facility outside Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia has launched a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukraine early Thursday, and Ukrainian officials said that Russian troops have rolled into the country from the north, east, and south. Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Grits

10 AM UPDATE: Russia launches massive attacks on targets in Ukraine – these are the latest updates

9:56 AM: Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says that anyone who is willing to fight and can carry weapons can join the country’s Home Guard, according to Sky News. Ukraine called in all reserve forces on Wednesday.

9:54 AM: The separatists in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine claim to have occupied the small towns of Stanychja Luhanska and Shcheshyta. Ukrainian authorities, for their part, confirm that the pro-Russian separatists are in territories controlled by government forces.

9:52 AM: At 11 o’clock on Thursday, a demonstration will be held in front of the Russian embassy in Oslo to mark opposition to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The demonstration is organized by the organization SmåRådina: for democracy in Russia. According to the organization, both Russians and Ukrainians will show up to mark their opposition to the attack.

9:44 AM: Norway’s Progress Party (FRP) parliamentary deputy leader Hans Andreas Limi strongly condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine.

“It is with shock and disbelief that we see that Russia is attacking Ukraine, an independent country in Europe. We strongly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Limi said.

“Ukraine has the right to decide its own future. Russia alone can be held responsible for the death and destruction that this attack entails. This is a terrible day for Ukraine and the Ukrainians. This is a dark and tragic day for the whole of Europe,” he added.

9:33 AM: On Thursday morning, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced that seven Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in airstrikes in recent hours. In addition, 15 soldiers have been wounded, and 19 are currently missing. A bridge over the Inhulets River west of the country has allegedly been destroyed.

9: 25 AM: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania request consultations with NATO.

9:10 AM: The police have increased their presence outside the embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Oslo. On Thursday morning, eggs and tomatoes were thrown at the Russian embassy. Read more…

8:58 AM: Chinese authorities warn that they are following the situation in Ukraine closely and call for restraint from all parties.

“China is following the new situation closely, and we ask that all parties exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said.

8:54 AM: The Polish government is requesting consultations with NATO in line with Article 4 of the Alliance.

8:52 AM: Tormod Heier at the Norwegian Defense College believes that Russia must either establish a Moscow-friendly regime in Kyiv quickly – otherwise, a long war could ensue. Read more…

8:46 AM: The main index on the Moscow Stock Exchange, RTS, plunged Thursday morning. The invasion of Ukraine has led to a fall of over 30 percent, according to Marketwatch.

8:36 AM: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will hold a press conference at the organization’s headquarters at noon.

8:34 AM: Moscow’s military claims that reports of downed planes “are not in accordance with reality.” Earlier in the day, Ukraine claimed to have shot down five Russian planes and one attack helicopter in the east of the country.

8:33 AM: Live footage from the Senkivka border crossing, reproduced by CNN, shows a large number of Russian tanks rolling across the border from Belarus, where they have participated in a major military exercise this month.

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv is located about 75 kilometers south of the border with Belarus.

Ukrainian border guards also report that Russian forces are moving across the border from the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

8:31 AM: The leader of Norway’s Socialist Left Party, Audun Lysbakken, condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. He thinks what is happening is deeply tragic.

“The SV strongly condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine. The Putin regime violates international law and chooses violence as a tool to force its will on a neighboring country,” Lysbakken said.

“It is reprehensible and deeply tragic that this is happening in Europe today. Our solidarity is with the people of Ukraine, and the SV supports international pressure to get Russia to put an end to its illegal and unacceptable war,” he added.

8:27 AM: Norway’s Liberal Party (V) leader Guri Melby believes that Norway must do what it can to support Ukraine and that the entire NATO Response Force’s 40,000 soldiers must be sent to Eastern Europe.

“Today, we are all Ukrainians, and Norway must do what it can to support Ukraine. The international response to Putin’s war must be united and strong: Heavy sanctions, more support for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and (sending) the entire NATO Response Force’s 40,000 troops to Eastern Europe,” Melby wrote on Twitter. She called Russian President Vladimir Putin a dictator. 

“A full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun. We stand with Ukraine against this warfare. The international reaction against Putin must be clear. This must have major consequences for Norway’s relations with Russia,” she added.

8:23 AM: The EU holds Russia responsible for the ongoing attack on Ukraine and is preparing new and tougher sanctions against Moscow.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s unwarranted attacks on Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

“In these dark hours, our thoughts go to Ukraine and the innocent women, men, and children who face this unprovoked attack and who fear for their lives,” the two EU leaders write.

“We hold the Kremlin responsible.” 

8:10 AM: “Ukraine’s allies are building a coalition that must force Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept peace,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday. He urged the international community to take action to force Moscow to halt its attack on Ukraine. Read more…

7:58 AM: Germany warned that Russia would suffer serious consequences for invading Ukraine. Read more…

“The Russian aggression will lead to an unprecedentedly high price – politically, economically, and morally,” Germany’s UN ambassador Antje Leendertse said after an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday night.

7:50 AM: Norway has temporarily moved its diplomats in Ukraine from Kyiv to Lviv after the Russian attack on Ukraine.

7:44 AM: The mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, is asking residents to stay home as a result of Russia’s attacks on targets in the country.

“Please do not leave your homes today. As a result of the complicated situation, schools, kindergartens, and other institutions will remain closed today, until the situation is further clarified,” Mayor Igor Terekhov wrote on Facebook.

“Public transport will run as usual. I will inform you about what is happening and what the city authorities are doing throughout the day,” he added.

Kharkiv is located about 480 kilometers east of the capital Kyiv and has about 1.5 million inhabitants.

7:40 AM: The Russian Ministry of Defense claims that Ukrainian air bases and air defense facilities have been neutralized. Read more…

7:34 AM: Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (AP) strongly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“It is unjustified, unprovoked, and irresponsible. A clear violation of international law. Our thoughts go to those who have already suffered too much from this conflict and fear that tomorrow will be much worse,” Huitfeldt said in a statement on Twitter.

7:30 AM: In a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyj, US President Joe Biden promised to uphold support and assistance to Ukraine.

7:20 AM: Russian forces are attacking Ukraine from Belarus, according to Ukrainian border guards. According to the border guards, the Russian forces in the neighboring country are attacking with artillery. Read more…

7:15 AM: Ukraine claims to have shot down six Russian aircraft – five Russian planes and one attack helicopter. The claims have not been confirmed by other sources. Read more…

7:04 AM: Russian forces did not land in Odesa and Mariupol, according to the Ukrainian Defense Forces, Reuters reports.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported on Thursday morning that Russian forces had arrived in the port cities of Odesa on the Black Sea and Mariupol on the Azov Sea in eastern Ukraine. This is fake news, according to the Ukrainian Defense Command.

In both cities, powerful explosions were heard at dawn on Thursday.

7:00 AM: Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (AP) says Norway strongly condemns Russia’s military attack on Ukraine. Read more…

6:12 AM: Conservative Party (H) leader and former Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the Russian attack on Ukraine “a dark day in Europe.” 

“Russia has started the invasion of Ukraine. A dark day in Europe – and for the people of Ukraine. A unified international response is needed to Putin’s violation of international law,” Solberg wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.

5:50 AM: Russia’s UN ambassador says Russia is after the “junta” in Kyiv. 

Early Thursday morning, Russia’s UN ambassador confirmed a military operation against Ukraine and said Russia is after the “junta” that rules in Kyiv.

4:00-5:00 AM: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Russia is launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Ukraine: Full-scale invasion

On Thursday night, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of launching a full-scale invasion of the country.

“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under attack. This is a war of aggression,” Kuleba said, adding that Ukraine will defend itself and win.

“The world can and must stop Putin. It is now time to act,” he said.

The news of the invasion and explosions comes after Putin announced on Thursday night that he had launched a military operation into Ukraine in response to “threats” from Ukraine.

In Kharkiv, a military command center was hit by a Russian missile, according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

Explosions reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa…

Ukraine closed the airspace to civilian aircraft, and both passengers and airport staff were evacuated from the airport outside Kyiv, where some witnesses reported hearing artillery fire, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Various sources report explosions in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Mariupol, and along the front line in eastern Ukraine, and that military facilities have been hit by rocket attacks in Kyiv as well.

Four explosions have also been heard in Kramatorsk, a city on the front line that serves as Ukraine’s military capital in eastern Ukraine.

Russia claims its attacking only military targets

The Russian Army claims that it is not attacking cities, only military targets in Ukraine.

“Russia’s Armed Forces are not carrying out rocket or artillery attacks on cities in Ukraine. Precision weapons are destroying military infrastructure, military airports, aircraft, air defense facilities, and the Ukrainian defense,” a statement from the Russian military leadership noted, as quoted by CNN.

“The civilian population is not in danger,” it is further stated.

In the early hours of Thursday, journalists and eyewitnesses reported the sound of explosions in a number of places in Ukraine, including in the capital Kyiv.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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