Russia attacks Ukraine: Explosions heard in Kyiv (live updates)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday launched an invasion of Ukraine after weeks of rising tension between the two countries.

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In a statement earlier Thursday, Putin warned that other countries which attempt to interfere would be met with “consequences that you have never experienced in your history.”

From the White House, President Joe Biden said the world will “hold Russia accountable.”

Here are the latest updates:

Explosions heard in Kyiv

Update 10:01 p.m. EST Feb. 24: According to The Associated Press, explosions are being heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as Russian forces continue their assault.

Kyiv was hit with missile fire early Friday, an adviser to the country’s government said, according to CNN.

“Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued,” Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told reporters via text message.

Videos verified by The New York Times showed a large explosion in the sky over the outskirts of southern Kyiv. Witnesses filmed fiery debris falling over parts of the city. The videos appeared to show at least two surface-to-air missiles being fired before the explosion, according to the newspaper.

Macron: There was ‘duplicity’ from Putin during phone call

Update 9:15 p.m. EST Feb. 24: French President Emmanuel Macron said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been deceitful in his conversations with him as the two leaders discussed the details of the Minsk agreements over the phone while preparing to invade Ukraine.

“Yes, there was duplicity, yes there was a deliberate, conscious choice to launch war when we could still negotiate peace,” Macron told reporters after a Euro summit.

UN will allocate $20M to aid humanitarian operations

Update 8:45 p.m. EST Feb. 24: The U.N. announced that it will immediately allocate $20 million to assist in humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the organization and its humanitarian partners “are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need ... regardless of who or where they are,” according to Reuters.

“With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine,” Guterres said. “People -- every day innocent people -- always pay the highest price.”

Zelenskyy says he is Moscow’s prime target

Update 7:38 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said during a video address to the nation that Russian saboteurs had entered the capital city of Kyiv, adding that he is “target No. 1″ for Russian forces, followed by his family.

In a short video address released after midnight on Friday in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said the Russians “want to destroy Ukraine politically by taking down the head of state.”

“I am staying in the government quarter together with others,” Zelenskyy said. “The enemy has designated me as the target number one, and my family as the target number two.”

Zelenskyy: 137 Ukrainian soldiers killed since invasion began

Update 7:24 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation that 137 Ukrainians, including military personnel and civilians, have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine early Thursday. Another 316 people have been wounded, the president said.

Zelenskyy also said that other nations were “afraid” to support Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, CNN reported.

“Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine’s accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid,” Zelenskyy said during his address. “I asked all the partners of the state if they are with us. They are with us, but they are not ready to take us into an alliance with them.

“No matter how many conversations I had with foreign leaders, I heard a few things,” Zelenskyy added. The first is that we are supported. I am grateful to each state that helps us concretely, not just in words. But there is a second -- we are left alone to defend our state. Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly -- I do not see.

“Today I asked the 27 leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO, I asked directly. Everyone is afraid, does not answer. And we are not afraid, we are not afraid of anything.”

Psaki: Staff at Chernobyl power plant ‘held hostage’ by Russian forces

Update 7:16 p.m. EST Feb. 24: White House press secretary Jen Psaki, said the Biden administration was “outraged by credible reports” that Russian soldiers are holding staff members at the Chernobyl facilities hostage.

“This unlawful and dangerous hostage-taking, which could upend the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facilities, is obviously incredibly alarming and gravely concerning,” Psaki said. “We condemn it and we request their release.”

US would accept Ukrainian refugees

Update 6:32 p.m. EST Feb. 24: The U.S. would be willing to accept Ukrainian refugees and would help European countries bordering the country to handle an increased number of people, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news conference.

“We are, but we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries,” Psaki told reporters. “So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours.”

Males in Ukraine ages 18 to 60 banned from leaving country

Update 6:23 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukraine has banned all-male citizens 18 to 60 years old from leaving the country, according to the State Border Guard Service.

The statement said that after martial law was imposed in the country, a temporary restriction also was implemented, CNN reported.

>> Russia attacks Ukraine: How to donate to people in Ukraine

“In particular, it is forbidden for men aged 18-60, Ukraine citizens, to leave the borders of Ukraine,” the statement said. “This regulation will remain in effect for the period of the legal regime of martial law. We ask the citizens to take this information into consideration.”

Zelenskyy orders full military mobilization

Update 6:02 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered a full military mobilization to counter the Russian invasion, according to The Associated Press.

Zelenskyy said the mobilization would last 90 days.

Actor Sean Penn in Ukraine to film documentary

Update 5:45 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Actor Sean Penn is in Ukraine to continue work on a documentary about the Russian assault in Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

The Office of the President wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that Penn was present for press briefings, met with Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and spoke to journalists and military personnel about the invasion.

“Sean Penn demonstrates the courage that many others, especially western politicians lack,” the president’s office wrote on Facebook. “The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country.”

UN Security Council to vote on resolution condemning Russia

Update 4:36 p.m. EST Feb. 24: The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on Friday on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times reported. The resolution, written and led by the U.S. will call for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its troops, the newspaper reported, citing a senior U.S. administration official.

The resolution would impose legally binding obligations on Russia under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, according to the Times. The obligations provide a framework for the Security Council to act when world security is threatened in order to “maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Obama condemns ‘brazen attack’ on Ukraine

Update 4:22 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Former President Barack Obama weighed in on social media Thursday to condemn Russia’s “brazen attack” on the people of Ukraine.

In a statement, the former president said that “the consequences of Russia’s reckless actions extend beyond Ukraine’s borders.”

“This illegal invasion in the heart of Europe also threatens the foundation of the international order and security,” Obama said. “People of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia’s actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people.

“And every American, regardless of party, should support President Biden’s efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia -- sanctions that impose a real price on Russia’s autocratic elites.”

Russians protest invasion of Ukraine

Update 4:05 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Thousands of Russians took to streets nationwide Thursday in protest of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainians in US share anxieties for families, homeland

Update 4 p.m. EST Feb. 24: People with family members in Ukraine shared fears Thursday for their loved ones as Russia launched an invasion of the country, claiming dozens of lives and prompting condemnation from leaders worldwide.

In western Washington, Grygoriy Lozynskyy told KIRO-TV that he felt “lots of anxiety, lots of frustration (and) lots of worrying.”

“(I) don’t know if they’re going to draft my cousins into war, my uncles,” he said, adding that these are “scary times.”

Motria Procyk told WSOC that her parents were born in Ukraine and fled during World War II. She was born in New York City and lives in North Carolina.

“There are some nights when I am following the news perhaps a little bit too late and waking up in the morning following it,” she told WSOC, adding that her family members have said, “’No, we are not going to flee. We are not going to leave with the tail between our legs. We will fight. We will preserve and defend our country.’”

There are more than one million people of Ukrainian descent living in the U.S., according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Group urges caution at Ukrainian nuclear facilities after Russia captures Chernobyl

Update 3:45 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Officials with the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday appealed for “maximum restraint” to avoid actions that might put Ukraine’s nuclear facilities at risk amid ongoing conflict between the country and Russia.

Ukrainian officials told IAEA that “unidentified armed forces” had taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of a 1986 nuclear reactor explosion widely regarded as the worst nuclear disaster in history. Officials with IAEA said no casualties or damage to the power plant had been reported.

US sanctions on Russia in response to ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ attack on Ukraine

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Feb. 24: In a speech Thursday from the White House, President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Russia after the country launched an assault of Ukraine following weeks of rising tension.

Biden says sanctions will target Russian elites, the country’s top banks and technology exports. The president did not give specific details on how the sanctions would be carried out.

>> Read more: Biden announces sanctions on Russia for Ukraine invasion

How did Russia and the Ukraine get here?

Update 3:25 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Tensions between Russia and the Ukraine have been growing for decades.

>> Read more: Timeline of Ukraine, Russian tensions

Death toll rises to 57 after Russia begins invasion of Ukraine

Update 3:20 p.m. EST Feb. 24: A Ukrainian official said 57 people have been killed since Russia launched an attack Thursday on Ukraine, Reuters reported. Earlier, officials reported about 40 deaths.

Ukrainian Health Minister Oleh Lyashko told Reuters that nearly 170 other people had also been wounded Thursday.

US regulators widen no-fly zone over eastern Europe, Russia

Update 3:10 p.m. EST Feb. 24: U.S. aviation regulators widened the area of eastern Europe and Russia where U.S. airlines and pilots are barred because of the conflict.

In a new directive Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited U.S. airlines from flying over any part of Ukraine or Belarus and the western part of Russia.

Earlier restrictions had barred U.S. airlines from flying over the eastern part of Ukraine. The restrictions cover both passenger and cargo flights, but not military ones.

Biden says he expects Putin to continue military action past Ukraine’s borders

Update 3:05 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden pointed to an hour-long speech Russian President Vladimir Putin made in the leadup to the invasion of Ukraine as evidence that he plans to continue military action beyond Ukraine’s borders.

“He has much larger ambitions than Ukraine,” Biden said Thursday. “He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about. And I think that his ambitions are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.”

In Tuesday’s speech, Putin acknowledged the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.

Biden promises response if Russia targets US with cyberattacks

Update 2:45 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Amid ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden said officials are prepared to respond if Russia targets American businesses or critical infrastructure with cyberattacks.

“For months we’ve been working closely with the private sector to harden our cyber defenses (and) sharpen our ability to respond to Russian cyberattacks as well,” he said.

The statement comes after several DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks took down Ukrainian government websites and other services on Wednesday.

Biden administration using ‘every tool’ to avoid gas price hikes

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden said Thursday that his administration was using “every tool” at its disposal “to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump.”

Russia is among the world’s top oil producers, according to Reuters. In retaliation to sanctions placed on the country, some experts predicted that Russia could cut back fuel sales, leading to higher gas prices.

>> Related: What does the Russian invasion of Ukraine mean for America’s economy?

We’re taking active steps to bring down the cost,” Biden said Thursday. He warned that “America oil and gas companies should not – should not – exploit this moment to hike their prices to raise profits.”

Biden reiterates US troops not expected to fight in Ukraine

Update 2:15 p.m. EST Feb. 24: In an address to the nation Thursday, President Joe Biden emphasized that officials have no plans to send U.S. troops to fight Russia in Ukraine amid the ongoing invasion.

“Although we’ve provided over $650 million in defensive assistance to Ukraine just … this last year, let me say again: Our forces are not and will not be engage with the conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” he said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO allies and to reassure our NATO allies in the east.”

The president previously said that U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe would be moved to strengthen Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Biden said Thursday that he’s authorized ground and air forces already in Europe to the countries, along with Poland and Romania.

Troops previously placed on standby in the U.S. are also being deployed to Germany to support NATO’s response.

“The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full-force of American power,” Biden said.

Biden: Sanctions will target Russian banks, oligarchs, state-owned businesses

Update 2:05 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden said the U.S. is sanctioning four more major banks across Russia in addition to those previously sanctioned in the leadup to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Officials are also adding more Russian oligarchs to the list of elites and family members being sanctioned.

“These are people who personally gained from the Kremlin’s policies, and they should share in the pain,” Biden said.

The president added that officials are blocking Russia’s largest state-owned enterprises from raising funds from U.S. or European investors. In all, Biden said the companies have assets in excess of $1.4 trillion.

“Some of the most powerful impacts (of) our actions will come over time as we squeeze Russia’s access to finances and technology for strategic sectors of its economy and degrade its industrial capacity for years to come,” he said.

The sanctions are being levied on Russia in conjunction with several other countries which in total make up more than half of the global economy, the president said.

“Between our actions and those of our allies and partners, we estimate that we’ll cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports and we’ll strike a blow to their ability to continue to modernize their military,” Biden added. “It will degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program. It will hurt their ability to build ships, reducing their ability to compete economically, and it will be a major hit to Russia’s long-term strategic ambitions.

“And we’re prepared to do more.”

Biden announces ‘additional strong sanctions’ on Russia

Update 1:50 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. is implementing “additional strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said in remarks from the White House.

“This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy both immediately and over time. We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize a long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies.”

The president said the sanctions are being enacted in collaboration with dozens of other countries which make up more than half of the global economy.

“We will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yens -- to be part of the global economy,” Biden said.

Russia-Ukraine conflict expected to impact US economy

Update 1:35 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden acknowledged Tuesday that sanctions on Russia were likely to affect the prices Americans see at the pump. Issues are expected to be exacerbated following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine on Thursday.

>> Read more: What does the Russian invasion of Ukraine mean for America’s economy?

Russia takes control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Update 1:10 p.m. EST Feb. 24: An adviser to Ukrainian president says that Ukraine has lost control over the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant after a fierce battle.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said the condition of the plant’s facilities, a confinement shelter and storage of nuclear waste is unknown.

A nuclear reactor in then-Soviet Ukraine exploded in April 1986, spewing radioactive waste across Europe in the world’s worst nuclear disaster. The exploded reactor has been covered by a protective shelter to prevent radiation leak and the entire plant has been decommissioned.

Podolyak said that after “absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe.”

He charged that Russia may mount provocations there and described the situation as “one of the most serious threats to Europe today.”

Things to know about Russia’s president

Update 1:05 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin has held his position since 2000, when he was elected following a stint as Russia’s prime minister. He previously worked as an intelligence officer for the KGB.

>> Read more: Vladimir Putin: Who is Russia’s president?

US Air Force bases remain in ‘increased readiness posture’

Update 1 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Several U.S. Air Force bases remained Thursday in “increased readiness posture to deploy” amid the ongoing Russian attack of Ukraine, WHIO-TV reported.

Stacy Geiger, spokeswoman for the Wright-Patterson Air Force 88th Air Base Wing, told the news station that as of Thursday, the base remained in increased readiness posture and had not been activated. Other Air Force bases instructed to be on increased readiness posture include Arizona’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Texas’ Fort Hood, Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Louisiana’s Fort Polk, and Robins Air Force Base and Fort Stewart in Georgia, according to WHIO.

“These units, all told, include medical support, aviation support, logistics support, and of course, combat formations,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last month.

>> Read more on WHIO.com

UK announces ‘most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen’

Update 12:45 p.m. EST Feb. 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen” in concert with the U.S. and the European Union.

“We’re taking new powers to target Russian finance in addition to the banks we’ve already sanctioned,” Johnson said Thursday in an update delivered to the House of Commons.

“These powers will enable us totally to exclude Russian banks from the U.K. financial system -- which is of course by far the largest in Europe -- stopping them from accessing sterling and clearing payments through the U.K. With around half of Russia’s trade currently in U.S. dollars and sterling, I am pleased to tell the house that the United States is taking similar measures.”

Johnson said that among other measures, officials will also impose asset freezes on more than 100 new entities and individuals in addition to the hundreds of other, previously announced freezes.

“(Russian President Vladimir Putin) is hurling the might of his military machine against a free and peaceful neighbor in breach of his own explicit pledge and every principle of civilized behavior between states, spurning the best efforts of this country and our allies to avoid bloodshed,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s statement came after he and other G7 leaders -- including U.S. President Joe Biden -- met to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine earlier Thursday.

Biden is expected to announce severe sanctions against Russia later Thursday.

Biden address delayed again

Update 12:25 p.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the Russian attack on Ukraine at 1:30 p.m. instead of 12:30 p.m. EST, White House officials said in an updated schedule released Thursday. He was originally scheduled to speak at noon.

The president met Thursday morning with the G7, composed of leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies. After the meeting, the group condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and vowed to enact “severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions” against the country.

UK reports Russia targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure

Update 12 p.m. EST Feb. 24: Officials with the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that Russia was targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure as part of its ongoing assault on the country.

In a statement, officials said, “Strikes have been delivered through a combination of Russian ground-, air- and sea-launched missiles and by artillery bombardment.”

Things to know about Ukraine’s president

Update 11:50 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held his position since 2019, when he won in a landslide election. Born Jan. 25, 1978, the Ukrainian native was a comedian before taking office.

>> Read more: Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Who is Ukraine’s president?

G7 leaders condemn Russian assault of Ukraine

Update 11:25 a.m. EST Feb. 24: The leaders of the world’s seven largest economies, known collectively as the G7, on Thursday issued a statement condemning “the large-scale military aggression by the Russian Federation” on Ukraine.

“This unprovoked and completely unjustified attack on the democratic state of Ukraine was preceded by fabricated claims and unfounded allegations,” the group said in a joint statement issued after a meeting earlier Thursday. “It constitutes a serious violation of international law and a grave breach of the United Nations Charter and all commitments Russia entered in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris and its commitments in the Budapest Memorandum.”

The group, which includes U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, vowed to bring “severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions” against Russia and called for other countries to do the same.

“This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based international order, with ramifications well beyond Europe. There is no justification for changing internationally recognized borders by force,” the group said. “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin has re-introduced war to the European continent. He has put himself on the wrong side of history.”

Kyiv under curfew amid Russian invasion

Update 11:20 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Officials announced a curfew Thursday in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as Russian troops continue to carry out military action in the area.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city of 2.8 million people would be under curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. He said such a move was necessary “for the safety of the residents of the capital” due to ongoing “military aggression.”

Earlier Thursday, officials in Kyiv urged people to take shelter due to an air threat detected in the area.

G7 meeting ends

Update 11:10 a.m. EST Feb. 24: A meeting of the leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies, including the U.S., has ended, according to the White House.

The meeting began just before 9:20 a.m. and ended just over an hour later. It was attended by President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelenskyy says more EU sanctions coming, demands Russia be banned from SWIFT

Update 11:05 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said the European Union will issue “a package of additional tough sanctions against Russia” after the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, launched an invasion of Ukraine.

He also demanded that Russia be disconnected from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a high-security network that connects financial institutions around the world.

>> Related: What is SWIFT and what happens if the Russians are cut off from it?

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also called for Russia to be banned from SWIFT in a statement posted on social media.

“Everyone who now doubts whether Russia should be banned from SWIFT has to understand that the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will soon be on their hands too,” he wrote.

Video shows explosion at Ukrainian air base

Update 10:50 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Video obtained and verified by CNN showed an explosion at Myrhorod Air Base in northeastern Ukraine.

The Associated Press also confirmed that explosions were reported near an airfield and bomb depot in Myrhorod.

Biden address to the nation pushed back

Update 10:15 a.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the Russian attack on Ukraine at 12:30 p.m. instead of noon EST, White House officials said in an updated schedule released Thursday.

The president is meeting Thursday morning with leaders of the world’s six other biggest economies. At the G7 meeting, officials are expected to discuss further sanctions on Russia.

Zelenskyy: ‘This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe’

Update 10:10 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces were trying Thursday to seize the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine.

“Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelenskyy said, referencing the accident regarded as the worst nuclear disaster in history. “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

G7 meeting underway

Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 24: A virtual meeting of the world’s seven largest economies began just before 9:20 a.m. Thursday, according to the White House.

At the meeting, President Joe Biden and leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom are discussing their joint response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, officials said. In a statement issued earlier, Biden said he planned to discuss “imposing severe sanctions on Russia” during the meeting.

UK officials report more than 80 strikes on Ukrainian targets amid Russian invasion

Update 9:55 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Officials with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense on Thursday reported more than 80 strikes against Ukrainian targets amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

“Russia has today further violated Ukrainian sovereignty,” defense ministry officials said in a social media post. “There are no justifications for this.”

Biden to address the nation amid Russian invasion of Ukraine

Update 9:45 a.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden will address the American people in a speech scheduled for noon EST on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

During the address, he’s expected to announce “severe sanctions” on Russia.

>> Read more: Biden to speak to the country about Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian minister of foreign affairs calls for countries to sanction Russia

Update 9:25 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, urged countries to “hit Russia with severe sanctions now” and to assist Ukraine with military and financial support after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the country on Thursday.

“Right now, Putin is plunging Europe into its darkest time since 1939,” Kuleba said in a social media post. “Any government hoping to sit this out is naive.”

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the country had severed diplomatic ties with Russia.

Kyiv residents urged to take shelter

Update 9:15 a.m. EST Feb. 24: City officials on Thursday urged people in the Ukrainian capital to take shelter amid an air threat detected in the area.

Kyiv is home to 2.8 million people.

President Joe Biden convenes National Security Council meeting

Update 9 a.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden convened a meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine, according to a White House official.

The meeting comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Days earlier, he had recognized a pair of separatist regions in the eastern part of the country.

President George W. Bush condemns Russian invasion

Update 8:45 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Former President George W. Bush on Thursday condemned Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” calling the attack “the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II.”

“The American government and people must stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future,” Bush said in a statement. “We cannot tolerate the authoritarian bullying and danger that Putin poses. Ukraine is our friend and democratic ally and deserves our full support during this most difficult time.”

Videos show military operations in Ukraine

Update 8:30 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Videos posted on social media show some of Russia’s attack on Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to take military action in the country early Thursday.

Video posted online and verified by BBC News showed smoke rising from a military airfield in eastern Ukraine.

Officials also confirmed a helicopter assault involving at least 20 aircraft just outside Kyiv, according to The Guardian.

Biden expected to unveil ‘severe sanctions’ against Russia today

Update 8 a.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden is expected to announce “severe sanctions” against Russia when he addresses the nation at noon EST Thursday, according to CNN and The New York Times.

NATO secretary-general calls Russian attack ‘deliberate,’ ‘cold-blooded’

Update 7:24 a.m. EST Feb. 24: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion,” according to The Associated Press.

“Russia is using force to try to rewrite history,” said Stoltenberg, who is calling for a Friday summit of NATO alliance leaders.

NATO to deploy more defense forces to eastern flank

Update 6:21 a.m. EST Feb. 24: NATO announced plans Thursday to beef up defensive forces on its eastern flank following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

“Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and they will have geostrategic consequences,” NATO said in a statement. “NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all Allies. We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the Alliance, as well as additional maritime assets. We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.”

The statement also called Russia’s attack “a grave violation of international law.”

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s horrifying attack on Ukraine, which is entirely unjustified and unprovoked,” the statement read. “Our thoughts are with all those killed and injured, and with the people of Ukraine. We also condemn Belarus for enabling this attack.”

Ukraine says 40 killed in attack

Update 5:17 a.m. EST Feb. 24: One of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s advisers said Thursday that about 40 people have died in Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

According to The Associated Press, the adviser, Oleksii Arestovich, also said several dozen people were hurt.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the people killed or wounded were civilians, the AP reported.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine has cut diplomatic ties with Russia

Update 4:58 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine has cut diplomatic ties with Russia following Thursday’s attack, The Associated Press is reporting.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

“We will lift sanctions on all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country as part of territorial defense with weapons in hands,” Zelenskyy continued. “We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia. For all those who have not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it is time to go out and protest against the war with Ukraine.”

Security camera video shows Russian vehicles crossing from Crimea

Update 3:58 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Security cameras captured footage of Russian military vehicles entering Ukraine from Crimea, according to The Associated Press and The New York Times.

EU seeks ‘harshest’ sanctions against Russia

Update 3:04 a.m. EST Feb. 24: The European Union announced Thursday that it is planning to impose the “harshest” sanctions in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

According to The Associated Press, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order, and we will hold President (Vladimir) Putin accountable for that.”

She continued: “We will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions to European leaders for approval.”

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, described the planned sanctions as the “strongest” and “harshest package,” the AP reported.

World leaders condemn Russian military actions

Update 2:42 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Leaders from Japan, Spain, France, Italy and Australia are condemning Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

“This Russian invasion stands to put at risk the basic principle of international order that forbids one-sided action of force in an attempt to change the status quo,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday. “We strongly condemn Russia, and we will respond speedily in cooperation with the U.S. and other Western nations.”

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez released the following statement on Twitter:

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “France strongly condemns Russia’s decision to wage war on Ukraine. Russia must end its military operations immediately. France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands with the Ukrainians and works with its partners and allies to end the war.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Russia’s attack “unjustified and unjustifiable,” according to Reuters.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison released the following statement: “Australia joins our partners in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There is no justification for this aggression, whose cost will be borne by innocent Ukrainians. Vladimir Putin has fabricated a feeble pretext on which to invade. Russia’s disinformation and propaganda has convinced no one.”

Russia says it has knocked out Ukraine’s air defenses

Update 1:46 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Russia’s military said it has knocked out Ukraine’s air defense assets and airbases, according to The Associated Press.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the airstrikes have “suppressed air defense means of the Ukrainian military.” According to the AP, the ministry added that Ukraine’s military bases’ infrastructure “has been incapacitated.”

The ministry also denied claims that a Russian warplane was shot down over Ukraine. The Ukrainian military has reported that it has shot down five Russian aircraft and a helicopter, according to CNN.

Russian ruble plummets on stock exchanges

Update 1:09 a.m. EST Feb. 24: The Russian ruble fell 5.4% to a record low Thursday, as financial markets were rocked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, The Guardian reported.

The Moscow Exchange said on Thursday morning it had suspended trading on all markets, according to CNN.

UK’s prime minister ‘appalled’ by attack

Update 1:01 a.m. EST Feb. 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by the events in Ukraine and has promised decisive action.

I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” Johnson tweeted. “President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

Attack from Belarus

Update 12:47 a.m. EST Feb. 24: CNN, the BBC and The Associated Press reported that Russian troops have entered Ukraine from neighboring Belarus. CNN, citing a livestream video, said troops entered the city of Senkivka, Ukraine, from the Belarus border city of Veselovka, at about 6:48 a.m. local time.

In a tweet, the U.S. embassy in Kyiv said it was “aware of military engagements” within Ukraine.

The Ukrainian state border service stated that the country was attacked at about 5 a.m. local time.

“The state border of Ukraine in the area with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus was attacked by Russian troops supported by Belarus,” the service stated. “In addition, the attack takes place from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea side.”

The New York Times confirmed that the border service reported the breach.

The border between Belarus and Ukraine is sparsely protected, and it’s a 140-mile drive to Kyiv from one crossing, the newspaper reported.

Biden, Zelenskyy speak

Update 12:19 a.m. EST Feb. 24: President Joe Biden said in a statement that he spoke to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces,” Biden said, according to The New York Times. “I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council.”

Martial law declared

Update 12:07 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law Thursday and urged citizens to remain calm in the wake of Russian military strikes against the eastern European country.

“Dear Ukrainian citizens, this morning President Putin announced a special military operation in Donbas,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine. We’re introducing martial law on the whole territory of our country. A minute ago I had a conversation with President Biden. The U.S has already started uniting international support. Today each of you should keep calm. Stay at home if you can. We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defense and security is working.

”No panic,” Zelenskyy said. “We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”

‘A message of war’

Update 12:01 a.m. EST Feb. 24: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “a message of war” by announcing a military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

“In my remarks tonight, I said that we predicted Russia’s false flag attacks. The misinformation, the theatrical emergency meetings and cyberattacks,” Thomas-Greenfield said during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “But one piece had not come to pass. Unfortunately, while we’ve been meeting in the Security Council tonight, it appears that President Putin has ordered that last step.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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