In the backdrop of powerful explosions across Kyiv and Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed on Thursday, 24 February, that military bases around the country were under attack and declared Martial Law in light of Russia's "military operation".
Urging citizens not to panic, in an address to the nation, Zelenskyy said, "Russia performed strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guard units. In many cities of Ukraine people heard the blasts."
He added, "A minute ago, I spoke to US President Joe Biden. The United States has started to unite international support. Today we need each of you to stay calm. If you can, stay at home. We are working. The army is working. The whole security and defence sector of Ukraine is working."
After launching the "military operation" in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin, had said, "Our plans (of special military operation) in Ukraine do not include occupying Ukrainian territory. We will aim at demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine."
"Anyone who tries to interfere with us, or even more so, to create threats for our country and our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history."
Meanwhile, responding to Putin's announcement, Biden said that "prayers of the entire 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."
While lawmakers in Ukraine had earlier approved a nationwide state of emergency as fears over a Russian invasion continue to mount, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had warned that Russia could start "a major war in Europe" in the coming days.
'Do Russians Want War?': Ukraine President
Zelenskyy had said earlier in an address to the citizens of Russia, "Today, I initiated a phone call with the Russian Federation President, which resulted in silence... this step could become the beginning of a big war."
"You're told it will liberate Ukrainians, but Ukrainians are free. You're told we're Nazis, but how can people who sacrificed over eight million lives for victory over Nazism, support Nazis? You're told Ukraine's a threat to Russia, it wasn't in past, it's not now, and it won't be later," Zelenskyy added.
Asking if the Russian citizens wanted war, he appealed to them, saying, "If Russian leadership doesn't want to sit down for peace, with us, then maybe it'll sit down at a table with you. Do Russians want war? I would very much like to answer this question. But the answer depends only on you, the citizens of the Russian Federation."