Ukrainian leader: Scores killed, hundreds wounded in first day of attack

Ukraine’s president announced late Thursday that more than 130 people were killed and over 300 wounded less than 24 hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a broad military invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement that according to preliminary data 137 people had died, including 10 officers, and 316 others were wounded.

“On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically. But did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “May the memory of those who gave their lives for Ukraine live forever.”

Health care facilities were being repurposed so that those who needed medical attention could receive it, the Ukrainian health minister said, according to The Associated Press.

The development comes shortly after Putin ordered a military operation in Ukraine in an address early Thursday morning Moscow time. Prior to Putin’s remarks, Zelensky made an emotional plea for peace, saying “The government in Ukraine wants peace and is doing everything it can to build it.”

“Neighbors always enrich each other culturally,” the Ukrainian president said. “However, that doesn’t make them a single whole. It doesn’t dissolve us into you. We are different, but that is not a reason to be enemies. We want to determine, build our future ourselves, peacefully, calmly and honestly.”

The Russian attack against Ukraine was condemned by President Biden and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and Biden announced a new round of sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

“There is a complete rupture right now in U.S.-Russia relations if they continue on this path they’re on,” Biden said.

Updated: 7:05 p.m.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Biden Russia Russian invasion of Ukraine Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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