Top Ukrainian official: ‘Putin has launched a full-scale war’

Associated Press/Emilio Morenatti

A top Ukrainian official said early Thursday local time that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “launched a full-scale war” in the country.

“Putin has launched a full-scale war of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote in a tweet. “This is a war of aggression.”

Kuleba said that Ukrainian forces would defend themselves, while calling on the world to help “stop Putin.”

“Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin,” Kuleba added. “The time to act is now.”

Kuleba’s remarks came as Putin announced that Russia would launch a military operation in Ukraine, with explosions heard in cities across the country.

In a televised address before the attack, Putin claimed the operation was aimed to protect eastern Ukraine from what he called a “regime.”

The Kremlin has been building its forces along the Ukraine border for weeks, also conducting joint military operations in Belarus.

The U.S. along with its NATO allies have issued firm warnings to Russia to push back on their invasion attempt in the hope to lower tension in the region.

In a speech before Putin’s announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded to Putin for peace and dismissed claims that his country had provoked Russia to invade.

“The Ukrainian people want peace,” Zelensky said. “The government in Ukraine wants peace and is doing everything it can to build it.”

“Neighbors always enrich each other culturally,” Zelensky 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.”

In a statement on Wednesday night, President Biden condemned Russia’s actions, calling it an “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”

“The prayers of the world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” he said.

Tags Joe Biden Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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