Russian President, Vladimir Putin has issued a stern warning to its allies in the West after declaring war on Ukraine.
Explosions were heard in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, as Putin announced that Russia was launching a military attack on Ukraine.
In an early-morning press address in Moscow on Thursday February 24, Putin said: ‘To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside – if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history.’
The United Nations Security Council had just convened an emergency meeting Wednesday night when Putin took to Russian airwaves to announce the invasion at 5:50am Moscow time.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, had urged Putin to stop his tanks.
‘If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart,’ said Guterres.
‘President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.’
The Russian president ignored the plea, going on TV to describe the invasion as a ‘special military occupation’ and said he wants to ‘demilitarize’ and ‘de-Nazify’, not occupy, the country.
He told Ukrainian service members to ‘lay down their arms and go home,’ saying Russia could not exist with a ‘constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine’ and clashes between Russian and Ukrainian solders was ‘inevitable.’
President Joe Biden responded to Putin’s attack Wednesday night, saying: ‘The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.’
‘President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. 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,’ his statement continued.
Biden added that he would be monitoring the situation from the White House the remainder of the night and will be getting regular updates from his security team.
The president plans to meet with his G7 counterparts on Thursday morning, and will speak to the American people to announce the ‘further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.’