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Russia Attacks Ukraine, ‘Prayers of Entire World’ Are With the Nation’s People, Biden Says

February 24, 2022 by Dan McCue
Russia Attacks Ukraine, ‘Prayers of Entire World’ Are With the Nation’s People, Biden Says
A woman reacts as she waits for a train trying to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russian troops have launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine. Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of a Russian invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine's democratically elected government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

WASHINGTON — Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, striking multiple locations from the land, sea and air.

Ukraine’s government described the developments as a “full-scale war” and predicted that Russia’s continued aggression could disrupt the global order.

At the White House, President Joe Biden said early this morning that “the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine” as a result of what he called an “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.”

“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 said.

The president was already scheduled to meet with the leaders of the G7 at 9 a.m. this morning, and once that meeting is over, he is expected to address the American people to announce further, more sweeping sanctions being imposed against Russia by the U.S. and its allies.

“We will also coordinate with our NATO allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance,” the president said last night.

The attack on Ukraine is Russia’s most aggressive military action since the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

In an early morning address, Putin deflected global condemnation, claiming that “our plans are not to occupy Ukraine, we do not plan to impose ourselves on anyone by force.”

He repeated his position that Ukrainian membership of NATO was unacceptable, and that he had authorized military action after Russia had been left with no choice but to defend itself against what he said were threats emanating from its neighbor to the west.

He claimed the Russian military operation aimed to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine, as well as to “de-Nazify” the country, and, in a chilling reference to his country’s nuclear arsenal, warned the West against any interference.

“To anyone who would consider interfering from outside: If you do, you will face consequences you have never seen.”

According to Interfax, the independent Russian news agency, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported its army had not met resistance at the border of Ukraine as the invasion got under way.

“Ukrainian border guards are massively leaving their places of deployment on the Russian-Ukrainian border,” the security service said.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said this morning that the Russian military has destroyed 74 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, including 11 airfields and a naval base.

“As a result of the strikes of the Russian armed forces, 74 ground objects of the military infrastructure of Ukraine were put out of action, including 11 airfields of the air force, three command posts, and a base for the naval forces of Ukraine,” Konashenkov said.

The Russian Ministry of Defense is also claiming Russian forces have destroyed 18 radar stations, and shot down a combat helicopter and four unmanned aerial vehicles.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine this morning, a mass migration of refugees appeared to be underway in Kyiv as people fled the Ukrainian capital for parts of the country they thought might be safer from the Russian assault.

Media reports from inside the country say long lines have formed at banks, and worried shoppers are quickly emptying grocery store shelves in a number of areas.

Frightened residents are also reported to be pouring into Kyiv’s main bus station, where police are struggling to control the flow of the crowds.

According to the Associated Press, sirens rang out in Ukraine’s capital while most of its residents were still asleep, and large explosions were heard there and in other cities, and people massed in train stations and took to roads.

The Ukraine government said this morning more than 40 soldiers had been killed and dozens had been wounded in early fighting.

Biden said he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shortly after the attack began and briefed him on the steps the United States was taking to rally international condemnation.

Biden said Zelenskyy asked him to “call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Zelenskyy immediately cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law.

“As of today, our countries are on different sides of world history,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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