Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a limited invasion of Ukraine, attacking Ukrainian military bases and installations and claiming to have destroyed Ukraine’s air defense capability in a few hours over night.

Putin, who announced a special military operation, stated that he ordered the attack in response to the sanctions and Ukrainian aggression in the Donbas region. In a video announcement by Putin himself, he said that “I have made the decision of a military operation. Whoever tries to interfere with us and even more so to create threats for our country, our people should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history,” said the President.

He accused Ukraine and its leaders of being ‘neo-Nazis,’ telling the Ukrainian Armed Forces to not resist and lay down their weapons, and go home.

Putin claimed the attack was necessary to protect the citizens and civilians located in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk regions as Ukraine was allegedly attacking them; a charge denied by Ukraine and supported by a total lack of evidence that Ukraine has taken any aggressive action in the disputed regions. Putin added that the attack was retaliation against the US for refusing to bow to Russia’s demands ity be given a guarantee that Ukraine would never be admitted into NATO.

Following the video announcement made at about 5 am Ukrainian time, the Russian military launched missile and artillery strikes on, Ukrainian military targets with the explosions being heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa. Russian-backed separatists in Donbas had allegedly staged another attack on the Ukrainian town of Shchastia, with loud explosions also being heard in Mariupol. An estimated 170,000 to 200,000 troops stationed at the Ukrainian border are slowly being mobilized along with the bombings to take control and destroy military installations in Ukraine. Amidst these attacks, the Kremlin had stated that it had no intentions of occupying the Ukrainian mainland and they were just ‘demilitarizing’ it to bring so-called Ukrainian criminals to ‘justice.’  Targets also included bridges across rivers and streams in an apparent attempt to prevent Ukraine military units from reaching Donbas.