Any remaining hope for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis went down the drain on 24 February as the country woke up to an invasion by Russia from both land and sea.
Addressing his nation in a televised speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that this is a “special military operation” to demilitarise Ukraine but not occupy it, but the situation on the ground speaks differently with explosions occurring across a wide swathe of the country.
The explosions, according to the several foreign media reports, could be heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Kharkiv in the country’s north-east, and as far as Vinnytsia in the west. Ukrainian officials have stated that explosions were also heard at the country’s largest airport, in Kyiv.
At the time of recording this episode, at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians were killed by Russian shelling, as per an AFP report. The report adds that Russian forces have also captured two towns in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region, which Putin recognised as independent just two days ago.
Visuals from the ground in Kyiv capture air raid sirens blasting across the city as citizens try to leave the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared martial law for the next 30 days. In a late-night statement on 23 February, Zelenskyy said that if Russia invades, Ukraine will defend itself, adding "as you attack, it will be our faces you see, not our backs.”
This is an unprecedented move by Russia, with the story still developing as we record this episode. Today, I will unpack what we know so far and where this crisis may be headed.
Joining me today to discuss the issue is Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, a global policy think tank.