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Russia launches multipronged attack on Ukraine

The Russian military launched a multipronged invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of 24 February, with ground forces entering not only the restive Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, but also deploying from Crimea in the south and Belarus in the north.

The invasion comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the pro-Russian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent from Ukraine and ordered the deployment of troops to “maintain peace” in those regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Janes analysis determines that missile strikes against Ukrainian air and naval bases, air defence sites, and ammunition storage facilities preceded the ground invasion, along with the bombardment of targets from multiple rocket launchers. Kyiv airport was among the targets struck. The Russian military's actions included the insertion of paratroopers into southern Ukraine from Crimea.

Aside from widely reported engagements between Russian and Ukrainian forces, major initial flashpoints include the advance of Russian mechanised infantry into Kharkiv in the east of Ukraine, which lies only 30 km from the border with Russia.

In a TV address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged calm and appealed for blood donations. He also gave Ukrainians the right to bear arms. Zelenskyy had earlier imposed martial law throughout the country, which was approved by the Rada, Ukraine's parliament. He met with the government leadership and representatives of the defence sector.

Shortly after the invasion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned it as “reckless and unprovoked” and for risking civilian lives.

The North Atlantic Council (NAC), the alliance's highest decision-making body, met later in the morning and also condemned the “entirely unjustified and unprovoked attack” and Belarus “for enabling this attack”.

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