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24
February
2022

Russia Attacks Ukraine As Explosions Heard In Kyiv And Other Cities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced martial law in Ukraine amid a Russian attack on the country.

“Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards,” Zelensky said in an address early on Thursday morning, per CNN. Zelensky said that “there were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine.” That confirmed reports of explosions from multiple U.S. correspondents across the country.

He urged citizens to stay calm and vowed, “We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”

Zelensky spoke to President Joe Biden. In a statement, Biden said, that in the conversation, he “condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council. He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Biden said that he will be meeting with the leaders of the G7 on Thursday, “and the United States and our Allies and partners will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia. We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

News networks have mobilized for coverage of the crisis overnight.

Zelensky’s office sent an image of an explosion to CNN. Matthew Chance said the image was of an aftermath of a cruise missile attack at the Kyiv airport.

On Fox News, correspondent Steve Harrigan said that “the Russians can come in and take Kyiv. They can carry out regime change, they can decapitate the leadership here and whatever brutal form they choose. They can do that. But they can’t hold on.”

He added, “I think if you ask me my opinion, which I’m glad to give, if this is a major war, this is the downfall of Vladimir Putin. This is the downfall of his Russia, this is the down fill of an autocracy, because they can win in the short-term but they cannot win in the long term. Ukraine, Europe is not going to stand for it.”

Anchor Bret Baier said that “this could turn into a giant insurgency. If it does, the world powers that support Ukraine are going to be funneling in money and weapons and whatever else…and suddenly Ukraine becomes Afghanistan for Russia.”

PREVIOUSLY: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he was launching a “special military operation” to the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, as networks mobilized with special reports on Wednesday evening to report on what may be the start of a large-scale invasion.

Shortly after Putin’s early morning speech, just after 7 PM PT, CNN’s Matthew Chance in Kyiv, told anchor Don Lemon that “there are big explosions taking place in Kyiv right now,” and the correspondent then put on a flak jacket and helmet as he was on air. CNN’s Clarissa Ward, reporting from Kharkiv, then also appeared and reported hearing blasts in that city.

ABC, CBS and NBC each interrupted regular programming with special reports.

“We have been bracing for this, we have been waiting for this potential day to come,” NBC News’ Richard Engel said.

Later, the network reported that the explosions in Kyiv were missile strikes, citing Ukrainian officials.

On CBS News, Norah O’Donnell said, “We may be witnessing how what is the beginning of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II.” Correspondent Charlie D’Agata was on live in Kviv when explosions broke out behind him, and what sounded like a fighter jet.

On ABC News, Martha Raddatz, in Lviv, reported that a senior Pentagon official texted her earlier on Wednesday that “you are likely in the last few hours of peace on the European continent for a long time to come.”

Throughout Wednesday evening, as Russian military action looked imminent, CNN focused on the possibility of an immediate invasion, and MSNBC and Fox News began shifted focus from opinion hosts to the latest developments. Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle did feature a phone interview with former President Donald Trump, who blamed President Joe Biden for Putin’s actions. “And it all happened because of a rigged election,” Trump said, referring to 2020 and his unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. Ingraham called a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “pathetic display.” “In Russian, he was essentially imploring Vladimir Putin not to invade his country,” she said.

Networks prepared to cover the Ukraine crisis overnight, with Fox News pre-empting Gutfeld! for coverage anchored by Shannon Bream and then Trace Gallagher. MSNBC planning continuing coverage, with Ali Velshi anchoring until early morning hours and Katy Tur picking up at 11 PM PT. Lemon continued in CNN’s anchor chair late into Wednesday evening.

Putin’s announcement in an early morning televised speech came at the same time that the United Nations Security Council was holding an emergency meeting, with portions captured by cable news networks. The Russian president said that Ukrainian soldiers should lay down their arms, although he insisted that the Russians did not intend to occupy the country. Putin also said that the purpose was the “demilitarization and denazification” of the Ukrainian regime and to protect Russian citizens in the country, suggesting a much wider incursion than just the eastern Donbas region of the country. He also warned of “the kind of consequences you have never experienced” to those who try to interfere in the Russian action.

But the U.S. and allies have warned of Putin establishing a pretext for a wider invasion, based on what President Joe Biden called a “twisted rewrite of history.”

In response to Putin’s speech, Biden said in a statement, “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Biden added, “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.”

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