Russia – Ukraine invasion LIVE: Vladimir Putin launches 'full scale' attack with missiles & explosions as war breaks out

RUSSIA has launched a full-scale invasion on several Ukrainian cities, using missiles and explosions.

Boris Johnson, is currently holding a Cobra meeting on the "horrific attacks" in Ukraine overnight, and warned Putin he'd chosen a "path of bloodshed" after declaring war on the sovereign nation.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister wrote: "I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.

"President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

"The UK and our allies will respond decisively."

And, Ukraine has brought in emergency measures and told its citizens in Russia to flee the country as fears of a large-scale invasion by President Vladimir Putin's troops mount.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, told the UN general assembly in New York that it is time for “restraint, reason and de-escalation” to avoid “a scale and severity of need unseen for many years”.

Read our Russia – Ukraine live blog for the latest news…

  • John Hall

    Death toll rising

    The Ukrainian government has confirmed the death toll of its soldiers today has risen to five.

    Although the total death toll within the first hours of invasion has been reported as being in the hundreds, the official toll remains in single figures for now.

  • John Hall

    Ukraine 'to arm veterans'

    Ukraine's former military personnel are being given weapons to defend themselves and their local communities, Retuers is reporting.

    It comes amid reports that Ukrainians are being encouraged to join the country's territorial defence units.

  • John Hall

    Ukraine closes airspace

    Ukrainian state air traffic services has closed the country's airspace as the country comes under attack.

    It suspended all flights at 02:45 Kyiv time (00.45 GMT) "due to the high risk of aviation safety for civil aviation".

    It added: "The provision of air traffic services to civilian users of the airspace of Ukraine is suspended."

  • John Hall

    Putin ally issues warning

    The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has issued a travel advisory to its nationals urging them to leave Ukraine until the situation stabilizes.

    Overnight Putin used Belarus as the entry point for Ukraine.

  • John Hall

    Multi-pronged attack

    Putin's invasion is the long feared follow up to when he stole the Crimea region from his neighbour back in 2014.

    It was that assault which sparked a rebel conflict in the country's eastern Donbas region – with Putin just days ago formerly recognising the separatist states as a prelude to his attack.

    Russia has long fumed over the fact Ukraine has grown closer with the West – and fears it could one day join Nato.

    Russia also launched a prong of its attack from neighbouring Belarus – where Putin has been shameless wooing its leader Alexander Lukashenko, a man known as "Europe's last dictator".

  • John Hall

    International pariah

    Global leaders have condemned Putin and pledged to stand with Ukraine – with the world now just one false move from what could become World War 3.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Putin had "chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction", while US President Joe Biden described the assault as an "unprovoked and unjustified attack"

  • John Hall

    Deadly force

    Moments after Putin took to the airwaves this morning, powerful explosions were reported and armoured columns were spotted moving towards the border.

    Russia has some 200,000 soldiers ready to move in – encircling the north, south and east of Ukraine.

    Moments later powerful explosions were reported and armoured columns were spotted moving towards the border.

  • John Hall

    What's happened this morning?

    The world is waking up to what could the most horrific crisis since World War 2 as Putin seeks to tear down the world order.

    His full scale invasion of Ukraine is all part of his deluded plan to rebuild the Soviet Union amid his paranoid fears over Nato.

    Ukrainians faced the sound of booming explosions and blaring air raid sirens as missiles, airstrikes and artillery shells fell on their homeland.

    Putin took to Russian airwaves at 5.50am Moscow time to order an aerial blitz in the first stage of his attack.

  • John Hall

    UK to slap Putin with fresh sanctions

    The UK will slap Russia with a whole host of fresh sanctions later today, the Government has reportedly revealed.

    Laura Hughes, Politcal and Diplomatic Correspondent at the Financial Times tweeted that officals had confirmed plans for Boris Johnson to set out a further round of sanctions against Russia in Parliament later.

  • John Hall

    Putin a 'modern day Hitler'

    Ukraine's former president Petro Poroshenko today branded Vladimir Putin a "modern day Hitler".

    Speaking outside parliament as MPs hold crisis talks in Kyiv, Poroshenko said "today is a tragic day" but that Ukraine will prevail.

  • John Hall

    First casualties reported

    The first reports are emerging of deaths following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    At least eight people have been killed and nine were wounded by shelling, an adviser to Ukraine's government said, according to Reuters

  • Milica Cosic

    Von Der Leyen: 'We know Russians do not want war'

    The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen has said that today the European Commission will present a package of sanctions for approval.

    She said: “Later today, we will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions to European leaders for approval. For this package, we will target the strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking the access to technologies and markets that are key for Russia. We will weaken

    "Russia's economic base and its capacity to modernize. In addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets.

    Von Der Leyen continued to say: “These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin's interests and their ability to finance war.

    "And we know that millions of Russians do not want war. President Putin is trying to turn the clock back to the times of the Russian Empire. But in doing so, he is putting at risk the future of the Russian people.”

  • Milica Cosic

    'Do not underestimate our strength'

    The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has said that Putin should not 'underestimate the strength of democracies joined together'.

    Von Der Leyen said: “We will not allow President Putin to replace the rule of law by the rule of force and ruthlessness.

    "He should not underestimate the result and strength of our democracies. History has proven societies and alliances, built on trust and freedom, are resilient and successful.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Reports of casualties

    At least eight people have been killed, and nine wounded by the Russian shelling, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs has said, according to Reuters.

  • Milica Cosic

    Video footage indicates that Russian rocket have hit Ukraine

    Video footage indicates that Russian rockets have hit major Ukrainian cities, despite claims by the Russian military that it is only targeting military infrastructure.

    Images from the city of Kharkiv showed what appeared a section of a rocket fired from a heavy multiple rocket launcher.

    CIT, an open-source research group, confirmed that the video was shot in Kharkiv, as the group claims the use of those rockets against population centres is a “war crime”.

  • Milica Cosic

    Moscow launches full-scale invasion

    Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, ordering troops across the border and targeting major cities with ballistic missiles.

    Russia said this morning it had already destroyed Ukrainian army bases across the country.
    Ukraine has also claimed to have downed Russian fighter jets and helicopters.

    Russian troops crossed the border from the North and landed in the South of the country while heavy fighting took place in the East.

    Explosions were heard in the capital of Kyiv and as far away as the western city of Lviv, according to reports.

  • Milica Cosic

    This morning's Russia-Ukrain news:

    • In a televised address to the Russian people, Putin said that the operation is aimed at the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine.
    • Missile strikes and explosions have been reported in several parts of Ukraine, including Kyiv and Kharkiv in the early hours of the morning.
    • Ukraine's Foreign Minister has accused Russia of starting a full-scale war and implored the UN to "do everything possible" to stop it.
    • US President Joe Biden has condemned the attack as he confirms a meeting of G7 leaders will take place today
    • Leaders from the UK, European Union, UN and NATO have also strongly condemned the Russian offensive.

    Marcon says 'Russia has to cease military operation IMMEDIATELY'

    The French President, Emmanuel Macron tweeted early this morning: “France is strongly condemning Russia's decision to go to war in Ukraine. Russia has to cease its military operation immediately”.

    Macron's remarks echoed those of other Western leaders throughout the morning after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine overnight.

    “France stands in solidarity with Ukraine,” Macron added. “It stands by the Ukrainian people, and acts with its partners and allies so that the war stops.”

    Hungary looking to stay out of Russia/Ukraine conflict

    Hungary's prime minister said that his country would seek to stay out of the worsening conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

    In a video on his Facebook page, Prime Minister Viktor Orban today said he would "do everything we can to avoid war".

    He added: "Hungary must stay out of this conflict … Because Hungarys security is the most important interest."

    Orban reiterated an earlier announcement from Hungarys defense minister that Hungarian soldiers would be deployed to the countrys border with Ukraine to prepare for the possible arrival of Ukrainian refugees. Orban is a fierce opponent of migration.

    Orban went to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month and lobbied for larger shipments of Russia gas.

    Earlier Wednesday, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that Hungary supports Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity and would back European Union sanctions against Russia.

    Putin blames current crisis on NATO

    In a rambling speech on Russian TV, Putin blamed NATO for the current crisis and claimed Kyiv was creating "weapons of mass destruction".

    He also painted modern Ukraine as being historically Russian and said the country had been used since the collapse of the Soviet Union by the West to contain Russia.

    "We demand that those who seized power in Ukraine immediately stop hostilities, otherwise, the responsibility for the continuing bloodshed will rest entirely with the Ukrainian regime," he thundered.

    Priti Patel: Russia could launch cyber attack on Britain

    The Home Secretary Priti Patel has warned Russia could launch a massive cyber attack on Britain at any time.

    She said "red lights" have been flashing over a Putin-ordered attack for some time, but new UK sanctions on Kremlin-linked individuals could drastically increase that risk.

    "Look at Salisbury, look at the cyber attacks," she said, adding: "Just look at attempts to interfere in our democracy."

    • Milica Cosic

      Oil prices surge as Putin declares war on Ukraine

      OIL prices have surged past $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 after Putin declares war on Ukraine.

      The rising prices are hitting drivers at the pumps, with experts estimating it is now costing drivers £15 extra just to fill up.

      Russia is one of the world's largest producers of oil, and prices are rising as concerns build over how the Ukraine crisis will impact distribution of supplies.

      It comes as Russia unleashed a missile attack on Ukraine this morning after months of growing tension between the two nations.

    • Milica Cosic

      Ukraine in state of emergency

      Ukraine has brought in emergency measures and told its citizens in Russia to flee the country as fears of a large-scale invasion by President Vladimir Putin's troops mount.

      The UN secretary general, António Guterres, told the UN general assembly in New York that it is time for “restraint, reason and de-escalation” to avoid “a scale and severity of need unseen for many years”.

    • Milica Cosic

      G7 leaders to meet today

      A meeting of G7 leaders will also take place today, President Joe Biden has confirmed.

      "President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," Mr Biden said.

      "Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.

      "The world will hold Russia accountable."

    • Milica Cosic

      'Russian drone had been shot down near Kyiv'

      Unconfirmed reports and pictures of wreckage suggested a Russian drone had been shot down near Kyiv.

      Lights in the capital went out at 6.30am – and seven minutes later, an enormous blast was heard nearby.

      At 7.05am sirens began blaring across the capital for the first time as frightened locals braced themselves for a bomb blitz.

      Access to the Black Sea and Azov Sea was cut off as an amphibious landing from a tanker and helicopter aircraft was reported near the southern port of Odessa.

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