New Delhi: Ukrainian forces battled Russian invaders on three sides on Thursday after Moscow mounted an assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since the second World War.
Here are the top 10 points on this big story:
- Russia’s Defence Ministry said its first day of the Ukraine invasion had achieved all its goals and that it had destroyed 83 land-based Ukrainian targets. Ukrainian police said Russia had carried out 203 attacks since the beginning of the day.
- Missiles rained down on Ukrainian targets and Kyiv reported columns of troops pouring across the borders with Russia and Belarus stretching from the north and east, and landing on the coasts from the Black Sea in the southwest and Azov Sea in the southeast.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday, appealing for an “immediate cessation of violence”. The Indian government ramped up efforts to evacuate Indians stranded in the country.
- As night fell, the picture of what was happening on the ground was sketchy. Fierce fighting was taking place in the regions of Sumy and Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson and Odessa in the south, news agency Reuters reported.
- An adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces had captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, just 90 km north of the capital, and Hostomel airport in the Kyiv region, where paratroopers had earlier been landed. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Ukrainians to defend their country and said arms would be given to anyone prepared to fight.
- After President Putin declared war in a pre-dawn televised address, explosions and gunfire were heard throughout the morning in Kyiv, a city of 3 million people. The highway out of the city choked with traffic as residents fled. Putin told business people in Moscow he had “no choice” than announce the attack.
- Unconfirmed reports of casualties included Ukrainian civilians killed by Russian bombardment and border guards defending the frontier. Authorities in the southern Odessa region said 18 people were killed in a missile attack. At least six people were killed in Brovary, a town near Kyiv, authorities there said. Ukraine reported five people killed when one plane was shot down.
- Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed four Russian tanks near Kharkiv, killed 50 troops near a town in Luhansk region, and downed six Russian warplanes in the east. Russia denied reports its aircraft or armoured vehicles had been destroyed. Russian-backed separatists claimed to have downed two Ukrainian planes.
- The assault brought a calamitous end to weeks of fruitless diplomatic efforts by Western leaders to avert war, their worst fears about Putin’s ambitions realised.
- US President Joe Biden called the Russian action an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” and announced “strong sanctions” and export curbs. Biden has ruled out sending U.S. troops to defend Ukraine, but Washington has reinforced NATO allies in the region with extra troops and planes.