On Thursday, Putin announced a military campaign in Ukraine, prompting explosions across the country and warnings from the country’s foreign minister that a “full-scale invasion” was underway.
Explosions were reported shortly after the announcement in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and several other cities.
Weeks of intense diplomacy and Western sanctions against Russia failed to deter Putin, who had amassed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders.
In a televised speech on Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “We are ready for any scenario.”
“Whoever tries to stop us and create new threats to our country should know that Russia’s retaliation will be swift and severe, with consequences you have never seen before in your history.”
“Its objective is to protect the people who have been subjected to cruelty and genocide by the Kyiv dictatorship for the past eight years,” he stated in defense of the military attack.
Despite Russia’s entry, President Alexander Lukashenko, a staunch supporter of Putin, has stated that Belarusian forces are not participating in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Our military will not be participating in this operation,” Lukashenko stated.
He also stated he had “personally suggested” to Putin that “a number of Russian armed forces” remain in the country’s south despite the conclusion of joint military drills.