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BREAKING: Russia announces “military operation” in eastern Ukraine as Ukraine president vows country will defend itself

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Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2022. 10:26 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Earlier tonight (early Thursday morning), President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin announced military operations in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine even as the United Nations Security Council made urgent pleas for him to stop, the BBC reports.

In a televised address, Putin described his actions as “self-defense” on Russia’s part and claimed that “justice and truth” were on its side. He urged Ukrainian soldiers in the area to “lay down their weapons” and go home, adding that Ukraine would be blamed for any bloodshed, that Moscow’s response will be “instant” if anyone tries to take on Russia, and claimed that Ukrainian soldiers’ fathers and grandfathers “did not fight so they could help neo-Nazis.”

The source of the conflict is an armed rebellion for several years in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, now recognized as “independent” by Russia, who claims it is sending troops to be “peacekeepers.”

For his part, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed: “If they [Russia] attack, if they try to take our country – our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children – we will be defending ourselves. As you attack, it will be our faces you see, not our backs…”

After saying Putin would not take his calls, he made a direct appeal to the Russian people to not believe the “lies” they were being told about Russia’s plans.

There have been multiple reports, some not confirmed, of explosions in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine and southeastern Russia near the border, according to the BBC.

U.S. President Joe Biden in a statement said Russia alone will be responsible for the consequences of their actions and America and its allies “will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Biden said he will address Americans on Thursday about the consequences Russia will face.

Ukraine is under a state of emergency approved earlier today, Wednesday.

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