The world has changed. Early Thursday morning, Russian television aired a speech from President Vladimir Putin in which he declared he had “decided to conduct a special military operation” in Ukraine. The invasion began shortly thereafter.
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Putin claimed in his speech the invasion was aimed at “demilitarizing and de-Nazifying Ukraine,” and that Russia has “no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.” But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba categorized the move as a “full-scale invasion,” with “peaceful Ukrainian cities under strike.” Sources on the ground reported missile strikes and shellings in several cities across the country—including Kyiv—and the Russian military confirmed it was striking Ukraine’s military airfields and air defense facilities. Ukrainian officials said Russian troops have crossed the border from Crimea, Russia, and Belarus, and that there have already been “hundreds of casualties.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he was imposing martial law throughout the country, and encouraged citizens to “keep calm” and “stay at home if you can.” Ukraine began conscripting reservists between the ages of 18 and 60 on Wednesday, and its Parliament voted yesterday to approve a law allowing all civilians to carry firearms and act in self defense. Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, called for a 30-day, nationwide state of emergency yesterday that, if approved by Parliament, would allow the government to restrict transportation, implement curfews, and impose additional security measures.
After waiving them last year because they “risked undermining a critical alliance with Germany,” President Joe Biden announced Wednesday the United States would reimpose sanctions on the entity and corporate officers behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Sen. Ted Cruz praised the decision and said he would lift the hold on State Department nominees he had implemented in response to the initial waiving.