Wed. May 29th, 2024

•Putin calls for the “demilitarization” of Ukraine after announcing military action in Donbas

•Threatens severe consequences on any country trying to assist Ukraine

•Explosions heard in Ukraine’s Kramatorsk and near Kyiv

Note: This is a developing story…more updates expected

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine early Thursday local time.In the address, broadcast on Russian national television, Putin urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and go home, saying all responsibility for possible bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the Ukrainian government.But he added: “Our plans are not to occupy Ukraine, we do not plan to impose ourselves on anyone.”

Putin’s speech came as concerns mounted of an imminent full-scale Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an emotional speech early Thursday that the Russian leadership had approved military action in Ukraine and vowed the country would defend itself.

This is even as Putin called for Ukraine’s “demilitarization” in televised remarks, shortly after announcing a military operation in the region of Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

“Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action,” Putin said, according to a RIA-Novosti transcript. “The People’s Republics of Donbas turned to Russia with a request for help. In this regard, in accordance with Article 51, part 7 of the UN Charter, with the sanction of the Federation Council and in pursuance of the friendship treaties ratified by the Federal Assembly and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, I have decided to conduct a special military operation.” 

Meanwhile, there reports from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv of explosions come from the east, in the direction of the international airport.

Reports on social media indicate several explosions in the Boryspil area to the east of the capital, where the international airport is located. 

Two people in the Ukrainian city Kramatorsk also told CNN they have heard at least two massive explosions in the early hours of Thursday.

Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.

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