Russia attacked different military installments, military airbases, and air defense posts on all three fronts land, air, and sea of Ukraine by early morning on 24 February.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has taken the shape of a large-scale Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law in the country and called for Ukrainians with battle experience to take up arms to defend the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Foreign powers that intervene in the Ukraine conflict will witness consequences they have not seen before.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry called the Russian attack an unjustified, deceitful, and cynical invasion. They said, there are strikes on military and other important defense facilities, border units are under attack, the situation in the Donbas has degraded.
According to Financial Times, Putin’s forces stormed Ukraine and mobilized for an overwhelming assault on Kyiv as Russia unleashed one of Europe’s largest military offensives since the second world war.
After air and missile strikes on military bases, Russian troops launched attacks from Ukraine’s northern border with Belarus, across its eastern frontier, and in the south from Crimea, the land that Russia annexed in 2014. Financial Times reported.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian armed forces Lieutenant-General Valery ZaluZhnyi addressed, “the armed forces of the Russian Federation launched an intensive shelling on our units in east, delivered missile/bomb strikes on airfields in Boryspil, Ozerne, Kulbakino, Chuhuiv, Kramatorsk, Chornobaivka, as well as on military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
He further added, “at the same time the aggressor started artillery shelling of the areas and settlements along the state border and administrative boundary with the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea.”
Lt. General Valery said that in retaliation 5 aircraft and 2 helicopters of Russian Aerospace Forces were shot, two tanks were damaged, several trucks of the armed forces of the Russian Federation were destroyed.
Just one day before the Russian attack, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, during which a decision was made to impose a state of emergency on the entire territory of Ukraine, except the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where Joint Forces Operation is underway. According to the report from the Ukrainian defense ministry.
According to Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, the Verkhovna Rada must approve the relevant presidential decree on the state of emergency which would strengthen the protection of public order and facilities that ensure the livelihood of the population and the economy.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said 166 units of military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces were located in the temporarily occupied territory just a day before the Russian invasion. This military equipment includes tanks, towed howitzers, and towed mortar on 23 February. As a result of Russian shelling on the same day, 1940 consumers were left without electricity.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine on 24 February, President Volodymyr Zelensky held an urgent meeting with the leadership of the government, representatives of the defense sector, and the economic bloc. He also spoke about negotiations with world leaders to form an international coalition to end Russian aggression.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said, “The Armed Forces of Ukraine hold fast their defensive positions. In the Chernihiv region, the enemy was stopped. The fierce fights are taking place in the direction of Kharkiv and in the Joint Forces Operation area, where the enemy suffered casualties of soldiers and material damages.”
They further added, “Our forces have taken full control of MARIUPOL and SHCHASTIA. At least six planes, two helicopters and dozens of enemy armored vehicles have been destroyed.”
The Ukrainian President asked for support from citizens. “Our servicemen need this support. The main thing is that they need the support of our population. We have an army of powerful people. Our population is also a powerful army.”
After destroying the main air defense bases, military installations, and airports of Ukraine, the Russian forces headed towards Kyiv city, the capital of Ukraine.
According to Anadolu Agency, Russian soldiers have seized several Ukrainian army vehicles and are heading towards the center of the capital Kyiv, a top Ukrainian defense official said.
Russia attacked the capital with rockets. Sirens and several explosions were heard in both Kyiv and Lviv. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian FM said there were horrific Russian rocket strikes on Kyiv. Anadolu Agency called it ‘worst since World War ll attacks by Nazis’.
“The last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany,” he said on Twitter.
Tass News Agency reported, the Russian military disabled 83 military facilities in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry said. Since the start of the military operation, two Su-27, two Su-24 planes, one helicopter, and four Bayraktar TB-2 drones of the Ukrainian armed forces have been shot down.
On 21 February, Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine as independent states.
Russia made a decision to carry out a special military operation in response to a request by the heads of the Donbas Republics to protect its people “who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.” Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
According to Tass, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.