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Russian invasion begins, missiles rain down on Kiev

Vladimir Putin in an early morning address on Thursday said that he had invaded Ukraine

Source: Daily Mail

Vladimir Putin has ordered an invasion of Ukraine, describing it as a 'special military operation' and saying he wants to 'demilitarize', not occupy, the country.

The Russian president told Ukrainian service members to 'lay down their arms and go home' as he declared war on Ukraine in an early morning address to the nation.

Putin said Russia could not exist with a 'constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine' and clashes between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers were 'inevitable'.

Unconfirmed reports said that Russian forces had destroyed or rendered unusable the Ukrainian navy, and taken control of Boryspil Airport in Kiev.

Access to the Black Sea and Azov Sea was cut off.

Unconfirmed reports on Twitter appeared to show a huge seaborne landing by Russian forces in the Black Sea port of Odessa, involving large landing craft and helicopters shortly before 6am local time.

President Joe Biden will address the nation at noon on Thursday, and on Wednesday night he condemned Russia's 'unprovoked and unjustified attack.' He was speaking to Ukraine's president.

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 said he will be monitoring the situation from Washington, DC, and will continue to get regular updates from his national security team.

The developments came as:

Explosions were heard across Ukraine, with the capital Kiev coming under attack and the city's main airport appearing to be a target, as well as a nearby military base.

Reports said the port city of Odessa was coming under amphibious assault, while another Black Sea port city, Mariupol, was under fierce attack.

Military assaults appeared underway on Kharkiv in the far east of Ukraine.

Ukraine's government intends to declare martial law, reports suggested, as the onslaught continues.

Russia insisted in the early hours of Thursday that it was targeting military installations and avoiding populated areas.
Joe Biden was speaking to Ukraine's president in the early hours of Thursday, having earlier through his UN ambassador voiced his strong continued support for the country.

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