In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, February 24, 2022, Russian forces crossed the borders and invaded its neighboring state Ukraine.
Per The New York Times, this invasion—deemed the most severe European land war since World War II—moved from the northeast, east, and south via land, air, and sea. Heavy artillery attacks and airstrikes were followed by a ground invasion with all the activity targeting military infrastructure, cities, and airports.
More than a dozen cities have been shelled, and around sunset, Russian special forces and air troops were closing in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Some of the day’s most intense fighting occurred outside of Kharkiv, the nation’s second-largest city.
One of the most concerning activities occurred on the northern border, where Russian forces battled for the Exclusion Zone. This radioactive wasteland is home to the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. By the end of the day, Russia had seized control of this crucial target and taken its staff hostage. This is a severe threat to the area and all of Europe.
World leaders were quick to condemn the heinous activity of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Per CNN, the international community is ready to take swift action against these attacks. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the invasion a “reckless act” and deemed Thursday a “terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe.” In direct response to the attack, the European Union, G7, and NATO began close coordination the same day.
The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called Russia’s actions a “barbaric attack” and pledged for “massive and strategic sanctions” against Russia to be approved by Thursday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson termed Russia’s actions as “a catastrophe for our continent” and is expected to announce the U.K.’s sanctions.
Per CNN, United States President Joe Biden had the following to say about the invasion of Ukraine: “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.” He continued with a plan of action that “the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.” Biden has also spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and discussed actions to be taken to condemn Putin’s invasion on a global scale.
As for the response from Zelensky himself, he offered words of strength for his country and asked the people to panic but stay strong. A sense of national pride shone through when he stated, “We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”