137 Ukrainians killed on first day of Russian invasion, says Zelenskyy as he calls up reservists
From his post in Kyiv, Europe Editor James Mates gives a round-up of a day that will go down in history
Some 137 Ukrainians, both members of the military and civilians, have been killed and hundreds more injured on the first day of Russia's invasion, the country's president has said as he ordered a full military mobilisation.
The decree will call up all of the country's conscripts and reservists and will be in effect for 90 days.
It comes after President Vladimir Putin ignored global condemnation and unleashed the largest ground war Europe has seen in decades. Russia's leader chillingly referred to his country’s nuclear arsenal and threatened any country trying to interfere with “consequences you have never seen”.
Explosions have been heard across Ukraine - in the capital Kyiv, and cities including Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odesa - as Ukraine's President Zelenskyy cut diplomatic ties with Russia and declared martial law.
A senior US defence official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, stated that the Russians are attacking their neighbour from three sides: Crimea to Kherson, Belarus toward Kyiv, and the northeast to Kharkiv. The official also warned that Thursday’s attack appears to be the first phase in what will likely be a multiple phased, large-scale invasion.
Outraged by President Putin's actions, protesters across the globe have taken to streets. 1,745 demonstrators were arrested across approximately 50 cities in Russia.
What's happening in Ukraine?
Sirens have blared out across Kyiv, with explosions heard on the outskirts of the city and reports of shelling in the north, south and east of the country.
130 kilometres north of Kyiv, Russian forces seized the Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to the President Zelenskyy's adviser.
The plant was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident - in 1986 a reactor exploded, causing radioactive waste to spew across Europe. Said reactor was covered by a protective shelter to prevent radiation leak, while the entire plant was decommissioned. Mykhailo Podolyak, President Zelenskyy's adviser, said Russia may mount provocations at the plant and described the situation as “one of the most serious threats to Europe today".
Key locations in Thursday's attack
Meanwhile, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers, who is on the ground in Ukraine, reports that radar at the easterly Dnipro airport had been hit by two rockets. It remains intact, however.
Russian and Ukrainian forces are said to be battling over Hostomel airbase. Due to its large runway and close proximity to Kyiv, it's suspected if Russia secures Hostomel, they'll use it to bring in troops and launch an attack on the capital.
Many Russian warplanes and armored vehicles across the nation have been destroyed, Ukraine's leader said, but he didn’t give numbers.
President Putin described Russia's own attack as a "military operation", claiming it is intended to protect civilians. In a televised address, he said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. However, these "attacks" are thought to have been a Russian pretext for invasion.
US Correspondent Emma Murphy reports from Washington, where supporters of Ukraine have been protesting
Russia's military said it had destroyed 74 Ukrainian military facilities, including 11 air bases, and had not targeted populated areas.
The assaults came first from the air, but later Ukrainian border guards released security camera footage showing a line of Russian military vehicles crossing into Ukraine’s government-held territory from Russian-annexed Crimea.
Both sides claimed to have destroyed some of the other’s aircraft and military hardware, though little of that could be confirmed.
Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo hears from fearful residents of Kyiv
ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo said in central Kyiv there were queues at every cash machine and that shops were busy.
Residents in Kyiv told ITV News "everybody is scared" but that they are "trying to remain calm."
Many people have taken to the roads to leave Kyiv, with heavy traffic on roads to the west.
“We are facing a war and horror. What could be worse?” 64-year-old Liudmila Gireyeva said. She planned to flee the city for Poland, where her daughter lives.
In Kharkiv, residents cowered in the underground subway for protection against military assault.
Ukraine’s cybersecurity service has reported continuing cyberattacks and said cellular networks were saturated with voice calls. Government, banking and military websites in Ukraine have been hit by cyberattacks twice over the last fortnight. US and UK officials were quick to blame the attacks on Russia.
What has the UK's response been?
In a televised address, Boris Johnson said the UK is prepared to resort to military measures, if required.
He said “diplomatically, politically, economically and – eventually – militarily, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”
At 5pm, Mr Johnson told MPs that the UK has hit Russia with the "the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen".
His colleague, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, summoned Andrei Kelin, Russia's ambassador to the UK, for talks. She said in a statement that Moscow should expect a “long, protracted conflict” with vast costs.
What about the rest of the world?
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy urged global leaders to provide defence assistance to his nation and help protect its airspace from the “aggressor.”
Mr Zelenskyy said that President Putin “has unleased a war with Ukraine and the entire democratic world”. He added that the Russian leader “wants to destroy our state, everything that we have built.”
Following Mr Zelenskyy's plea, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7 nations), including Boris Johnson, met virtually. In a statement, the group said Russia's attack was a "serious threat to the rules-based international order". It added that it was "bringing forward severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions".
Correspondent Dan Rivers sends an eyewitness report from Dnipro, a city under attack
President Joe Biden announced a new round of sanctions from the US late on Thursday. The new penalties target Russian banks, oligarchs and high-tech sectors.
Russia "will bear the consequences" of the new sanctions, President Biden said, adding: "Putin chose this war".
EU leaders, meanwhile, agreed to impose sanctions against Russia that will have "massive and severe consequences". France's President Emmanuel Macron, an outspoken opponent of the invasion, met with President Putin on Thursday night.
Nato has agreed to bolster its land, sea and air forces on its eastern flank near Ukraine and Russia, and will hold an "extraordinary" virtual meeting on Friday.
President Putin had issued a stark warning to other countries not to meddle saying, “whoever tries to impede us... must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history".
Some Russians are horrified by the attack on Ukraine, Correspondent Neil Connery reports
TV presenters in Russia, meanwhile, hailed the “historic” day and professed the end of suffering for the residents of the breakaway regions.
EU foreign affairs policy chief Josep Borrell said the events in Ukraine mark “among the darkest (hours) for Europe since the end of World War Two.”
Several countries neighbouring Ukraine, like Moldova, Poland and Hungary, have begun preparations to take in a large number of Ukrainian refugees.
Global markets plummet amid warnings of potential 'energy crunch'
Nearly £77 billion has been wiped off the value of London’s top 100 biggest listed companies following Russia's attack. Traders across the world sold off shares as they tried to figure out the consequences of the crisis. Consequently, Thursday is the worst day for the FTSE 100 in 20 months.
Russia's actions may impact consumers as well as businesses - motorists are being warned over the possibility of petrol prices soaring to £1.60 a litre.
The price of Brent crude oil hit its highest level in eight years after increasing by 6.3% to $102.90 per barrel shortly after 8am on Thursday.
Average fuel prices at UK forecourts are already at record highs, and the situation is expected to worsen as retailers pass on further rises in wholesale costs.
ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston said “we need to brace ourselves” for increases of “perhaps a third” in oil and gas prices, adding this has the makings of an energy crunch “like that of the early 1970s.”
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