The Ukrainian military claimed on Thursday to have downed five Russian Su-30SM planes and a Mi-28N helicopter in the east of the country near a rebel-held enclave, reported DW News.
Ukraine’s border guard agency said that the Russian military has attacked the country from neighbouring Belarus. The agency said the Russian troops unleashed an artillery barrage as part of an attack backed by Belarus.
They said the Ukrainian border guards were firing back, adding that there was no immediate report of casualties. Russian troops have deployed to its ally Belarus for military drills, a move that the West saw as a prelude to an invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is about 75 km (50 miles) south of the border with Belarus.
“According to the Joint Forces Command, today, February 24, in the area of the Joint Forces operation, five planes and a helicopter of the aggressors were shot down,” the army general staff said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard across the country and its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” was underway.
Weeks of intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter Putin, who had massed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.
“I have made the decision of a military operation,” Putin said in a surprise television announcement that triggered immediate condemnation from US President Joe Biden and other Western leaders, and sent global financial markets into turmoil.
Shortly after the announcement, explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and several other cities, according to AFP correspondents.
Ukrainian border guards reported being under attack along the Russian and Belarusian frontiers.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law and said Russia was attacking his country’s “military infrastructure”, but urged citizens not to panic and vowed victory.
His foreign minister said the worst-case scenario was playing out.
“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.
“This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
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