Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with several attacks from both ground troops, missiles, and bombers, the Ukraine military has reported that it has responded by shooting down five Russian planes and a helicopter in an attempt to fend away the attacks, according to the Joint Forces Command.

As of writing, reports of Russia’s ground forces have crossed into Ukraine from several directions from Crimea and Belarus despite economic sanctions imposed by the international community intended to deter such aggression. Belurus which was conducting military drills with Russia in the past months, is located about 50 miles from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, which raised concerns of Russian forces quickly overrunning the nation’s capital.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Adviser Anton Gerashchenko has reported that Russia has fired missiles on several military airfields, military warehouses, and military headquarters located in Kyiv, Kharkov, and Dnieper in a seeming attempt to prevent Ukraine from responding militarily to Russian troops moving into Donetsk and Luhansk. Two missiles have also reportedly hit a Ukrainian military facility in Brovary. Due to these missile attacks, Ukrainian citizens are fleeing major cities and heading west towards Poland amid Ukraine’s air raid sirens wailing in various cities.

“The military infrastructure of Ukrainian military air bases has been put out of action. The air defenses of the armed forces of Ukraine have been neutralized,” said the Russian Defense Ministry.

Inhabitants of Kyiv, Ukraine, leave the city following missile strikes by Russian armed forces on Feb. 24, 2022 (Getty Images via TIME). Source:
Inhabitants of Kyiv, Ukraine, leave the city following missile strikes by Russian armed forces on Feb. 24, 2022 (Pierre Crom/Getty Images via TIME)

Gerashchenko posted on his official Facebook account that the invasion had begun. He reported that there is heavy gunfire near the border of Ukraine and claimed that Putin was the ‘new Hitler’ of a possible World War III. “Truth is with us! The Lord is with us! We [will] protect our land! Victory will be upon us!” he claimed. Gerashchenko also pleaded to the public to call on friends and relatives in Russia and help them protest on the streets to stop the war.

The “border” spoken of by Gerachenko refers to the Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donestk and Luhansk Oblasts that Russian-backed separatists seized in 2014.

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has also reported that Russian troops were not only present in Donbas but the entire Ukrainian territory with attacks coming in from multiple directions. He further reiterated that Ukraine is not running away and that “Ukraine will defend itself. Ukraine will win.” The minister also called on all countries to act on behalf of Ukraine to stop Russia at all costs.

These developments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that it was attacking Ukraine as it was necessary to protect the civilians in the Donbas region, accusing the Ukraine government of being neo-Nazis.

Following these attacks, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Alexey Reznikov has announced on his Facebook account that all veterans and volunteers are welcome to fight for Ukraine and that the government can arm the said individuals. All available Ukrainian citizens who want to fight can be armed by going to the nearest Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine base. This comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the Ukrainian government would be calling up military reservists aged 18 to 60 for a service of up to one year as the full-scale invasion of Russia looms.

“As the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, I issued a decree on the conscription of reservists during a special period,” he said during his announcement last February 22. “We must increase the readiness of the Ukrainian Army for all possible changes in the operational situation,” he added.

As a result of the various attacks in Ukraine, both sides have now suffered casualties. The Ukrainian side has killed 50 Russian soldiers and occupiers while the Russians have taken 40 Ukrainian soldiers’ lives and around 10 civilian lives amidst the bombing.

President Zelensky, in a live broadcast, has also announced that he was cutting off all official diplomatic relations with the Kremlin, stating that Ukraine, together with its Armed Forces, is fighting Russia toe to toe and that it would not stand down against Moscow. During his fiery speech, he compared Russia and Putin and its actions to World War II’s Nazi Germany. “Ukraine is defending itself, and we shall not cede our freedom,” he said. “Russia has attacked our state in the way Nazi Germany did during the Second World War.”

The President then called on all Ukrainian citizens with combat experience to volunteer and arm themselves to protect their motherland against Russia. This coincides with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Alexey Reznikov’s announcement that all Ukrainians who decide to fight against Russia will be armed by the Armed Forces. Zelensky also clarified that no bases and posts were being abandoned by troops as claimed by Russia and that Ukrainian forces were facing heavy enemy fire in different regions.

In response to these recent developments, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was quoted stating that the attacks were “…the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations. I started this meeting of the Security Council addressing President Putin and telling him from the bottom of my heart: Stop your troops from an offensive against Ukraine, give peace a chance because too many people have died.”

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