Within hours , Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said there had been hundreds of casualties, CNN reported – despite Russia insisting early Thursday morning that it was only attacking military bases and avoiding crowded areas.
The Ukrainian military says its air defense shot down five Russian planes and a helicopter early Thursday morning in the east of the country near Kharkiv.
Ukraine’s border forces said their northern bases were under attack by Russian and Belarusian forces – a very significant factor, meaning that Russia does not operate alone and is attacking from all sides.
A Ukrainian government spokesman confirmed that Russia had also invaded the Belarusian border, just 120 miles from Kiev.
He said: “Ukraine’s national border was attacked by troops from Russia and Belarus.
“At about 5 a.m., the Ukrainian border, in the territory of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, was attacked by Russian troops backed by Belarus.
“Attacks on border units, border patrols and checkpoints are carried out using tanks, heavy equipment and light weapons.
“This is happening in Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr regions.”
A government spokesman also said Ukraine was attacked from Crimea.
“The sabotage of enemy forces and intelligence groups has also been recorded,” the spokesman continued.
“Depending on the border situation, the border guards along with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian National Guard shot at the enemy.
“Reports of casualties among border guards are being clarified.”
The Russian president told the Ukrainian army earlier on Thursday to “lay down their weapons and return home” as he declared war on Ukraine in an early morning speech to the nation.
Putin said Russia could not survive the “constant threat posed by Ukraine” and that clashes between Russian and Ukrainian troops were “inevitable”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced martial law earlier Thursday in a video message to the public urging people to stay home and be strong. He said he only spoke to Joe Biden.
‘We are working. The army is working, ”he said.