Hear air raid sirens go off in Ukraine's capital

Moscow and Kyiv, Ukraine (CNN)Russia has launched an unprecedented military assault on Ukraine by land, air and sea that has already left dozens dead, prompting Western leaders to condemn Moscow and vow unity with Kyiv.

Ukrainian ministers said the Kremlin had begun a “full-scale invasion” of their country, and the fighting appears to be some of the worst conventional warfare Europe has seen since World War II and the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s. Markets across the globe plunged.

    Attacks and explosions have been reported throughout Ukraine, including in the capital, Kyiv, where air sirens rang out Thursday morning and afternoon. Russian forces appeared to be encircling the city and looked poised to invade, Ukraine’s deputy interior minister told CNN.

      Officials in the country believe Russia’s plan is to overthrow the Ukrainian leadership and install a pro-Russian government.

      Ukraine’s democratically elected government remains intact, but has declared state of emergency that will begin Friday.
      In an emotional speech Thursday afternoon, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on world leaders for support, warning that if Ukraine doesn’t get help now, “war will come knocking at your door tomorrow.”
      At least 57 people have died and 169 people have been injured — including both combat and non-combat injuries, Ukraine’s health minister said Thursday.

      'This morning has gone down in history': Ukrainian President addresses nation amid Russian invasion
      'This morning has gone down in history': Ukrainian President addresses nation amid Russian invasion


        ‘This morning has gone down in history’: Ukrainian President addresses nation amid Russian invasion


      Western leaders were united in their swift and strong condemnation of Russia’s military action.
      US President Joe Biden said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “committed an assault on the very principles that uphold the global peace.”
      “Now the entire world sees clearly what Putin and his Kremlin allies are really all about,” Biden said
      Biden announced a raft of new sanctions to punish Moscow, some of which limit Russia’s ability to do business using important global currencies such as the dollar and the euro and target Russian banks that together hold around $1 trillion in assets.
      “Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” said Biden.

      A photo provided by the Ukrainian President's office appears to show an explosion in the capital city of Kyiv early Thursday, February 24.

      A wounded woman is seen after a reported airstrike at an apartment complex outside of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24.

      People shelter in a subway station in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24.

      Smoke rises from an air defense base after an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, on February 24. A CNN team in Mariupol has reported hearing a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-24-22-intl/h_4acca36c8b3aa9cabe9335cc2d6b4b2c" target="_blank">barrage of artillery</a>.

      Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after a reported strike in the eastern Ukraine town of Chuhuiv on February 24.

      Smoke rises from a military airport outside of Kharkiv on February 24. A CNN team in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-biggest city, heard a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-23-22/h_416cfbb0c15d0d28b9d6cf6ba7276d75" target="_blank">"steady stream of loud explosions."</a>

      Sviatoslav Fursin, left, and Yarina Arieva, center, kneel during their wedding ceremony at St. Michael's cathedral in Kyiv on February 24. Arieva, a 21 year-old deputy on the Kyiv city council, and Fursin, a 24 year-old software engineer, had planned on getting married in May but moved it due to attacks by Russian forces on Thursday.

      People wait on a bus leaving Kyiv on February 24.

      Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds an emergency meeting in Kyiv on February 24. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-23-22/h_1831ec828890a281e4fcfc8db92e3c4b" target="_blank">In a video address,</a> Zelensky announced that he was introducing martial law and urged people to remain calm.

      Ukrainian servicemen patrol in the Luhansk region of Ukraine on February 24.

      A staff member of a hotel in Kyiv talks on the phone on February 24.

      Police officers inspect the remains of a missile that landed in Kyiv on February 24.

      People wait in line to buy train tickets at the central station in Kyiv on February 24.

      A long line of cars is seen<a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-23-22/h_1463a3b82bff0d8466c15d19c0f42c5c" target="_blank"> exiting Kyiv</a> on February 24. Heavy traffic appeared to be heading west, away from where explosions were heard early in the morning.

      People in Moscow watch a televised address by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/23/europe/russia-ukraine-putin-military-operation-donbas-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">announces a military operation</a> in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 24.

      <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-23-22/h_ef59c1983f237c2bbec0bfc82e975968" target="_blank">An emergency UN Security Council meeting</a> is held in New York to discuss the ongoing crisis on Wednesday, February 23.

      A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen on February 23 in the Rostov region of Russia, which runs along Ukraine's eastern border.

      Ukrainian soldiers talk in a shelter at the front line near Svitlodarsk, Ukraine, on February 23.

      Smoke rises from a damaged power plant in Shchastya that Ukrainian authorities say was hit by shelling on Tuesday, February 22. Amid continuing <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-22-22/h_a53583ae6f8b8ea14346b80471b00277" target="_blank">reports of ceasefire violations,</a> the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the town of Shchastya has sustained some of the heaviest shelling.

      A damaged house is worked on after shelling near the front-line city of Novoluhanske in Ukraine's Donetsk region on February 22.

      Mourners gather at a church in Kyiv on February 22 for the funeral of Ukrainian Army Capt. Anton Sydorov. The Ukrainian military said he was <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-19-22-intl/h_26fe0a683b93bd317b59b1513a4a8daf" target="_blank">killed by a shrapnel wound</a> on February 19 after several rounds of artillery fire were directed at Ukrainian positions near Myronivske.

      Ukrainian soldiers pay their respects during Sydorov's funeral in Kyiv on February 22.

      A sign displays conversion rates at a currency exchange kiosk in Kyiv on February 22. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/21/investing/global-stocks-ukraine-russia/index.html" target="_blank">Global markets tumbled</a> the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into parts of eastern Ukraine.

      Russian howitzers are loaded onto train cars near Taganrog, Russia, on February 22.

      People who left a separatist-held region in eastern Ukraine watch <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/21/europe/russia-ukraine-tensions-monday-intl/index.html" target="_blank">an address by Putin</a> from their hotel room in Taganrog, Russia, on Monday, February 21. Putin blasted Kyiv's growing security ties with the West, and in lengthy remarks about the history of the USSR and the formation of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, he appeared to cast doubt on Ukraine's right to self-determination.

      <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-21-22/h_628f017cfcf5f4ddb31b2c5d41d4f577" target="_blank">Putin signs decrees</a> recognizing the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic in a ceremony in Moscow on February 21. Earlier in the day, the heads of the self-proclaimed pro-Russian republics requested the Kremlin leader recognize their independence and sovereignty. Members of Putin's Security Council supported the initiative in a meeting earlier in the day.

      Protesters demanding economic sanctions against Russia stand outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv on February 21. Only a small number of protesters showed up to demonstrate.

      Activists hold a performance in front of the Russian embassy in Kyiv on February 21 in support of prisoners who were arrested in Crimea. They say the red doors are a symbol of the doors that were kicked in to search and arrest Crimean Tatars, a Muslim ethnic minority.

      Ukrainian servicemen shop in the front-line town of Avdiivka, Ukraine, on February 21.

      People lay flowers at the Motherland Monument in Kyiv on February 21.

      A local resident shows the depth of a crater from shelling in a field behind his house in the village of Tamarchuk, Ukraine, on Sunday, February 20.

      Ukrainian service members are seen along the front line outside of Popasna, Ukraine, on February 20.

      People evacuated from the pro-Russian separatist regions of Ukraine are seen at a temporary shelter in Taganrog, Russia, on February 20.

      Anastasia Manha lulls her 2-month-old son Mykyta after alleged shelling by separatists forces in Novohnativka, Ukraine, on February 20.

      A Ukrainian soldier stays on position on the front line near Novohnativka on February 20.

      A couple arrives at the city council to get married in Odessa, Ukraine, on February 20. As Ukrainian authorities reported further ceasefire violations and top Western officials warned about an impending conflict, life went on in other parts of the country.

      Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy, left, visits soldiers at a front-line position in Novoluhanske on Saturday, February 19. Minutes after he left, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-19-22-intl/h_d1ce9212df87ddbf0f79e4c4e4a6df56" target="_blank">the position came under fire.</a> No one was injured.

      A woman rests in a car near a border checkpoint in Avilo-Uspenka, Russia, on February 19.

      Residents of the breakaway Donetsk state sign up for evacuation to Russia on February 19. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/18/europe/ukraine-russia-news-friday-rebel-evacuations-intl/index.html" target="_blank">The evacuation orders were given Friday by pro-Russian separatist leaders</a> in eastern Ukraine's breakaway regions, who claimed they were necessary because of an imminent offensive by the Ukrainian army. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied any such plans and accused the separatists of launching a "disinformation campaign." The restive eastern part of the country has witnessed the worst shelling in years in recent days, with Ukraine and Russia accusing the other of heavy shelling of civilian areas.

      A Ukrainian service member walks by a building on February 19 that was hit by mortar fire in the front-line village of Krymske, Ukraine.

      Fighter jets fly over Belarus during a joint military exercise the country held with Russia on February 19.

      Soldiers stand guard at a military command center in Novoluhanske on February 19.

      People sit on a bus in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Friday, February 18, after they were ordered to evacuate to Russia by pro-Russian separatists.

      The remains of a military vehicle are seen in a parking lot outside a government building following an explosion in Donetsk on February 18. Ukrainian and US officials said the vehicle explosion was <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-news-02-18-22-intl/h_2e970471e9b07200947b89b4628960ab" target="_blank">a staged attack</a> designed to stoke tensions in eastern Ukraine.

      A memorial service and candlelight vigil is held at the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv on February 18. They honored <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2015/02/20/europe/ukraine-conflict/index.html" target="_blank">those who died in 2014</a> while protesting against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader who later fled the country.

      A kindergarten that officials say was <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/europe/russia-us-diplomacy-ukraine-analysis-intl/index.html" target="_blank">damaged by shelling</a> is seen in Stanytsia Luhanska, Ukraine, on Thursday, February 17. No lives were lost, but it was a stark reminder of the stakes for people living near the front lines that separate Ukrainian government forces from Russian-backed separatists.

      Children play on old Soviet tanks in front of the Motherland Monument in Kyiv on Wednesday, February 16.

      Ambassadors of European countries lay roses at the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv on February 16. The wall contains the names and photographs of military members who have died since the conflict with Russian-backed separatists began in 2014.

      US troops walk on the tarmac at the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport in southeastern Poland on February 16. US paratroopers landed in Poland as part of a deployment of several thousand sent to bolster NATO's eastern flank in response to tensions with Russia.

      A 200-meter-long Ukrainian flag is unfolded at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv on February 16 to mark a "Day of Unity," an impromptu celebration declared by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

      Travelers wait in line to check in to their departing flights Tuesday, February 15, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv. US President Joe Biden <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/10/politics/biden-ukraine-things-could-go-crazy/index.html" target="_blank">has urged Americans in Ukraine to leave the country,</a> warning that "things could go crazy quickly" in the region.

      A Ukrainian serviceman carries an anti-tank weapon during an exercise in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on February 15.

      A location of Oschadbank, a state-owned bank, is seen in Kyiv on February 15. The websites of Oschadbank and PrivatBank, the country's two largest banks, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/15/world/ukraine-cyberattack-intl/index.html" target="_blank">were hit by cyberattacks that day,</a> as were the websites of Ukraine's defense ministry and army, according to Ukrainian government agencies.

      A woman and child walk underneath a military monument in Senkivka, Ukraine, on Monday, February 14. It's on the outskirts of the Three Sisters border crossing between Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

      F/A-18E and 18F Super Hornets are seen on the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman, an American aircraft carrier in the Adriatic Sea on February 14. The Truman was on its way to the Middle East in mid-December, but the Pentagon <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/03/europe/uss-navy-truman-nato-exercises-intl-cmd/index.html" target="_blank">decided to keep it in Europe</a> as tensions began to escalate.

      Ukrainian service members talk at a front-line position in eastern Ukraine on February 14.

      Members of Ukraine's National Guard look out a window as they ride a bus through the capital of Kyiv on February 14.

      Satellite images taken on February 13 by Maxar Technologies revealed that dozens of helicopters had appeared at a previously vacant airbase in Russian-occupied Crimea.

      The Russian navy's diesel-electric Kilo-class submarine, Rostov-on-Don, moves through Turkey's Bosphorus Strait en route to the Black Sea on February 13.

      US soldiers and military vehicles are seen at a military airport in Mielec, Poland, on February 12. The White House approved a plan for the nearly 2,000 US troops in Poland <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/09/politics/white-house-plan-troops-help-americans-leave-ukraine/index.html" target="_blank">to help Americans who may try to evacuate Ukraine</a> if Russia invades, according to two US officials familiar with the matter.

      An anti-war demonstration takes place in Kyiv's Independence Square on February 12.

      Pro-Russian separatists observe the movement of Ukrainian troops from trenches in Ukraine's Donbas area on February 11.

      Ukrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles that were delivered to Kyiv on February 10 as part of a US military support package for Ukraine.

      Ukrainian service members walk on an armored fighting vehicle during a training exercise in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region on February 10.

      Speaking in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “brutal act of war” and said it put “countless innocent lives” at risk.
      “Peace on our continent has been shattered. We now have war in Europe, on the scale and of the type we thought belonged to history,” he said. “NATO allies condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. It is a blatant violation of international law, an act of aggression against a sovereign independent and peaceful country.”
      NATO will increase land, sea and air forces on its eastern flank, the security alliance said in a statement.

      Russians give their rationale for invasion

      Putin had kept the international community on a knife’s edge for months, as the world watched and waited to see what exactly the Kremlin planned to do with the estimated 150,000 troops it deployed on Ukraine’s borders.
      After repeatedly denying any plans to invade Ukraine, Putin said in a televised address early Thursday that Russia would be conducting a military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which contains Donetsk and Luhansk, the separatist-held regions that Moscow recognized as independent on Monday — in violation of international law.
      Putin said earlier this week he was ordering troops to the breakaway enclaves to act as “peacekeepers.”
      Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told foreign journalists that the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine are among the objectives of Russia’s military action in the country.
      “Ideally, Ukraine should be liberated, cleansed of Nazis, of pro-Nazi people and ideology,” Peskov said, though he refused to say if that meant regime change in Kyiv. The Russian claim of a need to “denazify” Ukraine is one Putin has touted repeatedly over the years and is baseless. Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, is Jewish.
      Putin lashes out with ominous threat to Ukrainians and other countries
      The Russian strongman urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and go home, saying all responsibility for possible bloodshed would be entirely on the conscience of the Ukrainian government.
      “Our plans are not to occupy Ukraine, we do not plan to impose ourselves on anyone,” he said, but threatened “those who may be tempted to intervene” on Ukraine’s behalf.
      “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history,” he said.

      Residents refuel at a gas station in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine.

      Invasion launched before dawn

      The first blasts were heard at around 5 a.m. local time Thursday, and it quickly became clear that Moscow’s military assault was not limited to eastern Ukraine.
      CNN teams on the ground heard explosions in and near multiple Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv; the second-largest city, Kharkiv; Odessa; and distant firing from Zaporizhzhiya.

      Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev, near Kharkiv, on February 24, 2022.
      Ukrainian officials said on social media that Russia was staging attacks far and wide, shelling control centers such as airfields and military headquarters in Kyiv and Kharkiv. The Russian military has, according to a senior US defense official, been targeting “military and air defense” targets, meaning “barracks, ammunition warehouses, nearly 10 airfields,” the official said.
      Images released by Zelensky’s office showed large explosions to the east of Kyiv with huge columns of smoke rising into the air. At least seven people were killed and 17 were wounded in a missile attack on a military area northeast of the capital, Ukrainian authorities said.
      Here's what we know about how Russia's invasion of Ukraine unfolded
      Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were doing “exceptionally” in the Donbas region, and while Russian troops were slowly advancing in the Chernihiv region in Ukraine’s north, Ukrainian defenses were holding elsewhere. Russian forces did seize the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the scene of Europe’s worst nuclear disaster.
      Ukraine’s borders were reportedly under attack from Russian forces to the north in Belarus and the south from Crimea, according to the Ukrainian State Border Service. The Russian military claimed Ukraine’s border service “did not provide any resistance” and claimed to have “suppressed” Ukraine’s air defenses. CNN was not able to immediately verify either of those claims.

      Russian tanks roll past CNN reporter as they appear to head toward Ukraine
      Russian tanks roll past CNN reporter as they appear to head toward Ukraine


        Russian tanks roll past CNN reporter as they appear to head toward Ukraine


      Three military facilities in the western Lviv region were attacked, according to the regional governor.
      Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Evgeny Yenin told CNN that Ukrainian troops had retreated from “fierce fighting” with Russian forces for control of the strategic Antonov air base on the outskirts of the Kyiv but were staging a counterattack. Earlier Thursday, large numbers of helicopters dropped Russian troops at the air base to secure it, he said.
      A CNN team spoke with Russian airborne troops on the perimeter of the air base, only about 20 miles from the heart of the capital, and heard exchanges of fire with Ukrainian forces.

      Civilians hide in subway stations amid fighting

      The violence near the capital forced families to crowd into subway stations, as city authorities issued an air raid warning and urged residents to seek shelter underground. Across the country, Ukraine’s subway stations are doubling as bomb shelters, as the assault continues and fears of strikes grow.
      Heavy traffic could be seen clogging roads heading west out of the capital as dawn broke, while further east, near the Russian border, the mayor of Kharkiv urged citizens not to leave their homes.
      Ukrainians have largely remained divided about the possibility of a Russian invasion, hoping that the military buildup was just the latest in Moscow’s mind games. After months of ratcheting up tensions, the wide-scale military assault still came as a shock — especially in Kyiv, where residents had, until Wednesday, continued to go about their daily lives as foreign governments withdrew their diplomatic staff from the capital.

      A local resident sits in a car while preparing to leave Mariupol, eastern Ukraine.
      “You wake up at 5 a.m. to a totally new reality, and you find out the world is no longer the safe place you imagined,” one woman in Kharkiv told CNN.
      “I can’t believe it’s happening, really.”
      While major details about the incursion — including total casualties — remain shrouded in the fog of war, UK military intelligence earlier said more than 80 strikes had been carried out against Ukrainian targets, while a senior US defense official said the Russians had launched more than 160 missiles.

        Russia also deployed 75 fixed-wing heavy and medium bombers in the initial attack and initiated “some ground incursions” into Ukraine from Belarus, northwest of Kyiv, the US official added.
        The Russian military released a statement Thursday claiming it was not targeting Ukrainian cities, saying “the civilian population is not at risk.” Still, many Ukrainians chose to leave the capital, while others hunkered down in shelters.
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