Ukrainian residents take shelter at metro stations
People in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, have taken cover at metro stations offered by local officials as makeshift bomb shelters amid attacks by Russian forces.
Public transportation has stopped and turnstiles opened in an offer of refuge, according to NBC News correspondent Matt Bradley. Although the city’s mayor has insisted that fighting has ceased in the areas around Kharkiv, those taking refuge are cut off from information about what is happening around them.
“It’s a really difficult situation, no one knows exactly what’s going on, not even right in front of their face,” Bradley reported.
US Secretary of Defense: Russians fire more than 100 missiles at the start of the invasion
A senior defense official, as part of an operational update on the situation in Ukraine, told NBC News that the initial phase of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began around 9:30 p.m., with naval and land-based missile launches.
More than 100 Russian missiles – including short-range ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles and sea missiles fired from the Black Sea – were fired in the first salvo, the official said.
The targets so far have been military and air defense, barracks, ammunition depots and 10 airfields, the official said, adding that there is no clear understanding of the level of casualties on either side.
The ground invasion began around 05:00 ET from Belarus and moved northwest to Kiev. Russian troops jumped into Kharkiv at about the same time.
The full extent of electronic jamming and cyber attacks has not yet come into play but can still be used.
Russia will also use cruise missile attacks to target government buildings, including in civilian population centers, the official said, referring to the US assessment of Russia’s next move.
The official said several US F-35 fighter jets would arrive in the region later on Thursday: two to Estonia, two to Lithuania and two to Romania. In addition, 32 Apache helicopters were on their way to the region on Thursday, but the weather may delay the arrival of some.
The official said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had not had any communication with their Russian counterparts since the invasion began.
Putin has “reintroduced war in Europe,” the G-7 said in a joint statement
The world leaders of the Seven Groups condemned Putin on Thursday and called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces from Ukraine.
“This has fundamentally changed the Euro-Atlantic security situation,” the G7 foreign ministers said in a joint statement. “President Putin has reintroduced war on the European continent. He has put himself on the wrong side of history.”
The leaders agreed on sanctions in a coordinated stance against Putin and reiterated support for Ukraine, calling Russia’s presence in Crimea an “illegal” occupation. They also condemned Belarus’ involvement and reminded the country of its “international obligations”.
“We urge all partners and members of the international community to condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and to raise their voices against this blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international peace and security,” they said in a statement. .
Ukraine’s invasion jeopardizes space cooperation between the United States and Russia
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is already creating tensions in the space community, one of the few global arenas in which the United States and Russia are still cooperating.
In a statement posted Wednesday on TwitterDmitry Rogozin, director general of Russia’s space agency, hinted at tensions but said he valued cooperation with NASA.
“We value our professional relationship with NASA a lot, but as a Russian and a citizen of Russia, I am very dissatisfied with the US openly hostile policy towards my country,” Rogozin said in a translation.
Rogozin also tweeted “Glory to Russia!” on Monday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a televised speech with misleading claims that Ukraine is a “historically Russian country” and false claims that the country has fallen into the hands of neo-Nazis and corrupt “puppets” controlled by the West.
NASA said in a statement that the agency performs space flights as usual: “NASA continues to work with Roscosmos and our other international partners in Canada, Europe and Japan to maintain the safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station.”
Ukraine’s ambassador calls for stricter sanctions against Russia
Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, said on Thursday that Russia had bombed its airports, warehouses, hospitals and civilian infrastructure.
Speaking to reporters at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington DC, Markarova called on the international community to form an “anti-Putin coalition” and called on the West to impose tougher sanctions on Russia immediately.
“The future of the world order depends on this,” Markarova said.
Markarova also asked for more help with defensive capabilities and humanitarian aid, but said that Ukraine does not “expect anyone to fight for us.”
She also said that a Russian platoon had surrendered to the Ukrainian military after the Russian troops, she said, claimed to be unaware that they were being brought to the country to kill Ukrainians.
NBC has not been able to verify that statement.
“We are protecting our home and we will not quit,” Markarova said.
Russian misinformation and propaganda increase as the conflict in Ukraine grows
Russia’s attempts to spread disinformation and propaganda over the internet and through foreign and domestic media about its invasion of Ukraine began a few weeks ago – and it is expected to increase now that the conflict has begun.
Disinformation experts say they have seen a concerted effort by Russian leaders and state-sponsored media to pursue a false story about the reasons for invading Ukraine, and that they expect it to continue when both international pressure and even some domestic Russian resistance to war is increasing. .
“We will see a huge attack,” said Jane Lytvynenko, a senior researcher at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy. – And we must be prepared for that.
Lytvynenko said that people should be prepared for a variety of misinformation and propaganda, including the use of authentic images and video to drive false stories.
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The President of Ukraine warns Russian forces trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
Russia isolated when the “Iron Curtain” falls, says Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered citizens details of military resistance in his latest update on Thursday, while continuing to urge Russian citizens to push back in protest against Putin.
Zelenskyy praised the work of Ukrainian forces on the Russian border while calling the struggle in the southern part of the nation “complicated” in comments published on Telegram. He also expressed optimism in his country’s defense.
“The sound we hear today is not just missile attacks, explosions and rockets – it is the sound of the Iron Curtain falling down and shutting Russia away from the other civilized world,” Zelenskyy said.
He renewed calls on Ukrainian citizens to help territorial defense forces and asked anyone with military experience to offer themselves in the effort. When he switched to Russian, Zelenskyy spoke of the sanctions he has asked for from world leaders in retaliation for Putin’s military operation. He urged the Russians to express their dissent and called the proposed sanctions “the most powerful” in world history.
“I want you to stand up for your cause on Red Square and main streets in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. Not just on Instagram,” Zelenskyy said. “Russia is now being isolated from the rest of the world.”
US defense official: The Russians “make a move” against Kiev
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has so far focused on three main axes of attack – all of which have been judged to take important population centers – and Putin’s forces “make a move towards Kiev”, a senior defense official told NBC News.
The first axis is a south-to-north approach from Crimea to Kherson; the second axis is a north-central to southern approach from Belarus to Kiev; and the third axis is an approach from northeast to south that occurs around Kharkiv, where the heaviest fighting is currently going on, the official said.
The official revealed the information as part of an operational update on the situation in Ukraine.
Russia “is making a move towards Kiev,” the official said, adding that the US assessment of Putin’s actions indicates that Russia “has every intention of basically beheading the government and installing its own method of governing.”
“We have not been surprised so far by what we have seen them do,” the official said. “It’s very much in line with what was expected.”
Russia’s actions so far indicate that its invasion is still only in its initial phase, the official said. Russia’s military operation will cover several phases, but the United States does not currently know how many phases the invasion will cover – or how long the phases will take.
SWIFT banking system could be used as a sanction against Russia. What is it?
In recent weeks, President Joe Biden has threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with “serious economic consequences” and sanctions such as “he has never seen” if Russia invades Ukraine.
Now that Putin is taking military action against Ukraine, Biden and US allies may consider imposing one of the toughest economic sanctions on Russia: kicking it out of the SWIFT banking system.
But to do so, which some financial analysts have likened to a “nuclear power options“would be an unprecedented move towards one of the world’s largest economies.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is a cooperative of financial institutions founded in 1973 and headquartered in Belgium. It is supervised by the National Bank of Belgium in cooperation with other major central banks, including the US Federal Reserve System, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
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