Russia strikes Ukraine
As air raid sirens blast in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, reports state that Ukrainian Air Force Mig-29s are defending themselves against Russian Air Force Su-35 fighter jets. The war has begun.
Russian tanks crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine. Videos show that Ukrainian Air Force AN-26 planes were shot down, confirming that five Ukrainians on board were killed. Intense bombings were reported near Kharkiv at 4:00 A.M. yesterday, diminishing apartment buildings into fragments of concrete. Other explosions were heard in Kramatorsk. Unconfirmed reports indicate naval landings in Odesa from the Black Sea.
Russian Military Defense released a statement: "As a result of Russian strikes, 74 ground objects of the military infrastructure of Ukraine were disabled, including 11 airfields of the Air Force, 3 command posts, a naval base and 18 radar stations of the S-300 and Buk-M1 air defense systems."
Due to cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian government, banks, and parliamentary websites, the internet has been shut down entirely.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, "Russian troops captured the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant zone." Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warned of nuclear risks if there is damage to the plant. Zelensky stated, "This is a declaration of war on the whole of Europe." Yet European assistance is nonexistent.
In Russia, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. Their voices are being heard around the world.
Video footage is broadcasting Russian soldiers raising the Russian flag over a hydroelectric plant in Nova Kakhovka, which is located 60 km into Ukraine. Both Nova Kakhovka and Kachovka have been easily captured.
Zelensky has done everything he can to keep his country, including ordering full military mobilization. Just short of begging, he called up all operational reserves and "all those who can hold weapons" to attack Russian invasion forces (in 2018, the total was 178,000).
"The future of the Ukrainian people depends on every Ukrainian," pleaded Zelensky. "Russia has attacked Ukraine in a cowardly and suicidal way, like Nazi Germany did during World War II."
Nevertheless, Ukrainians are putting up a mighty fight for their homeland, reportedly shooting down five Russian helicopters, destroying dozens of tanks, and capturing at least 80 of Putin's troops, according to The News Room 23.
The Ukrainian government closed checkpoints in Crimea and declared a state of emergency while continuing to urge citizens to shelter in place. The elderly and the young, the disabled and the laborers are huddled underground inside the Kharkiv metro that is doubling as a bomb shelter. Due to the heavy assault, over 100,000 Ukrainians have been displaced.
As Putin continues his invasion, he announced that "this is a war to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine and to put to justice those that committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals," according to Russia's State News Agency. Flexing his muscles, Putin demanded that the West stop weapons delivery and recall from Ukraine all American advisers.
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid stated, "Russia's attack on Ukraine is a major attack on world order." U.S. representative Michael McCaul cautioned, "We're seeing an air, land and sea attack taking place right now. ... We haven't seen anything like this since ... Hitler invaded Poland in World War II. I just hope this is not the beginning of World War III."
French president Emanuel Macron called Putin to implore him to remove the troops. The U.N. Security Council's secretary-general pleaded, "For the love of God, pull back your troops into Russia. The world does not want to see another war in Europe."
As the attack advanced, Biden continued to discuss diplomacy, warning Russia that invading Ukraine will have "deep economic consequences." Biden has yet to address American military involvement, but he did announce an upcoming National Security Council meeting.
The European Union promises sanctions. Switzerland already imposed sanctions against Russian banks. Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid offered humanitarian aid. The U.K.'s Boris Johnson called an emergency NATO summit.
President Zelensky says Russia's invasion has severed Moscow from the rest of the international community. "What do we hear today? It's not just rocket explosions, combat, and the roar of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain lowering and closing Russia off from the civilized world," he said in a video address.
President Zelensky reported, "The enemy's sabotage forces have entered the capital. Me and my family are remaining here."
Let's pray that those will not be his last words.
Valerie Greenfeld is an expert in security who has worked in the United States Senate and the White House in Washington, D.C. Bernie News Network (BNN) contributed significantly to this report.
Image: U.S. Army Europe.