It's war! Massive explosions were heard in Kiev moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday morning ordered an invasion of Ukraine saying he wants to 'demilitarize' and not occupy the country. Explosions could also be heard in the city of Kramatorsk in central Ukraine and Odessa in the south. Multiple video footage on social media showed missiles raining down on Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv.
Visuals of explosions from an airstrike reported near Boryspil Airport in Kiev, Oblast, were also seen on Wednesday night, according to reports. The reports of gunfire and explosion came after Putin announced a "military operation" in Ukraine's Donbas region on Thursday morning. He made the declaration in a televised speech at the same time as the UN Security Council was imploring him to stop.
Ukraine Under Siege
Several reports on social media confirm that explosions occurred in Kharkiv in the north, Odesa in the south, and in eastern Donetsk. Video footages on social media show huge explosions rocking different cities of Ukraine. At least five cities including Kiev, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa have been bombed.
There are also reports that access to the Black Sea and Azov Sea was cut off.
According to the Interfax news agency, which cited local media, gunshots were reported near the main airport of Boryspil in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Thursday, just after Ukraine stopped its airspace due to a "possible hazard to civil aviation." All flights have been canceled by the airport.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that Russian forces had destroyed or rendered the Ukrainian navy inoperable, as well as taken control of Kiev's Boryspil Airport.
Some reports claim that Russia has launched a barrage of artillery and missile fire from Belgorod.
In Mariupol, another explosion has been reported. Blasts also rattled the Belgorod province of Russia bordering Ukraine, a witness told Reuters. And more explosions were heard in Kharkiv, in the country's northeast, according to multiple video footages doing the rounds on social media.
Russia Goes All Out
Unconfirmed reports on Twitter appeared to show a huge seaborne landing by Russian forces in the Black Sea port of Odessa, involving large landing craft and helicopters shortly before 6am local time. The footage came just half an hour after Putin announce troops to move into Ukraine.
Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the nation early morning on Thursday, announcing that the Kremlin had decided to carry out a "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking on the attack, Russia's UN representative Vasily Nebenzya told Reuters: "We don't know all the details today about his president's [Putin's] operation in eastern Ukraine."
Condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an "unprovoked and unjustified attack", US president Joe Biden said: "I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security."
According to reports, Mariupol, 50 miles from the Russian border on the Black Sea, appeared to be under siege. The Donbas republics would gain access to the sea if they took control of this key point. Although no air raid warnings were issued in the city, terrified civilians hurried to bomb shelters -- only the frequent muffled crump of missile or air strikes breaking through the pre-dawn stillness.
Biden said that he will be closely monitoring the entire situation. "I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team," Biden said following the reports of the invasion.