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Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen”. World leaders decried the start of a long-anticipated invasion with far-reaching consequences and reports of casualties on both sides. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, in a surprise televised address shortly before 6am local time. He warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with Russia's invasion would lead to “consequences they have never seen".
- Explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other Ukrainian cities. Interfax Ukraine reported rocket attacks on military facilities throughout the country, as well as staff and passengers evacuating Kyiv’s Boryspil airport.
- US President Joe Biden, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, French President Emmanuel Macron and other international leaders swiftly condemned the attack.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released an emotional video address early Thursday morning local time, appealing to Russians not to support a “major war in Europe".
- The EU on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu and military chiefs as part of a package of measures over the Kremlin’s recognition of two separatist Ukrainian regions as independent.
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(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP and AP)