(ORDO NEWS) — Russian troops have attacked a number of targets in Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. Moscow’s actions provoked “condemnation” from the collective West. They threaten Russia with new sanctions, as well as the collapse of markets around the world.
Russian troops have hit a number of targets inside Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin ordered an operation to “demilitarize” the country. Russia’s actions have drawn strong condemnation from the international community, which is threatening Moscow with more damaging sanctions, as well as the collapse of markets around the world.
On the morning of Thursday, February 24, Russia launched rocket, artillery and air strikes, triggering the worst security crisis in Europe in decades. The Ukrainian interior ministry warned that Kiev was also under attack and urged citizens to take shelter. Ukrainian border guards said the strikes were coming from five directions, including Crimea in the south and Belarus in the north, and that Russian troops had crossed the Ukrainian border.
Ahead of the offensive, in a nationally televised address, Putin stressed that Russia had no plans to “occupy” Ukraine, but added that these actions were necessary because the United States and its allies had crossed Russia’s “red lines” by expanding the alliance’s borders. NATO. US President Joe Biden called Putin’s actions “an unprovoked and unjustified attack,” adding that the international community “will hold Russia accountable.”
Commodity markets have skyrocketed and Brent crude is now trading above $100 a barrel for the first time since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Gold also jumped in price due to the fact that investors tried to find safe havens.
Putin said he was taking these measures in part to protect civilians in the separatist regions from the Ukrainian military, although there was no evidence that they were in danger of being attacked. The United States and European allies have repeatedly warned that Moscow was seeking to create a pretext for military action.
In his speech, the Russian leader made other unsubstantiated claims that could be used as justification for launching an offensive. In particular, he stated the need for “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, as well as the need to bring to justice those “who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared a state of emergency throughout the country. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Putin “launched a full-scale invasion” and promised that his country “will defend itself and win.”
“Russia carried out strikes on our military infrastructure, on our border guards,” Zelensky said in a video message he posted on Telegram after talking with Biden. He urged the Ukrainian people to remain calm and not leave their homes if possible: “We are working, the army is working.”
The Russian Defense Minister said that the strikes were carried out on the military infrastructure of Ukraine, and that they did not pose a danger to the civilian population.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had several telephone conversations with Putin and visited Moscow in an attempt to ease tensions over Ukraine, condemned the Russian attacks, calling them “a flagrant violation of international law” that cannot be justified.
“This is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe,” Scholz said.
Biden, Scholz and their G7 colleagues will hold a teleconference on Thursday, Feb. 24 to discuss the situation. On the same day, EU leaders will gather for a personal emergency summit meeting. Poland called on NATO to deploy additional troops on the eastern flank of the alliance.
On the news that Europe is warning about “large-scale and targeted sanctions”, the Russian ruble sank 7.3%. The Moscow Exchange Index fell by more than 13%. Earlier, the Moscow Exchange suspended trading after the Russian currency fell to its lowest level since 2016.
A full-scale operation is underway in Ukraine
China has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, instead calling on “all sides” for restraint and once again criticizing the United States for “hyping” the prospect of war in Eastern Europe.
The United States and its allies have been warning for weeks that Putin is planning a full-scale invasion. Meanwhile, Russia has repeatedly denied this accusation, calling it “hysteria” and propaganda, while at the same time concentrating forces to the borders of Ukraine.
Biden said that he would make an appeal to the American people to announce new sanctions that would be introduced against Moscow in the future. The United States and its European allies imposed the first round of sanctions this week after Putin recognized the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, providing him with a pretext to launch hostilities.
“President Putin has gone down the path of a pre-planned war that will result in catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said in a statement late Wednesday. “Only Russia is responsible for the death and destruction that this attack will entail, and the United States, their Allies and partners will respond jointly and decisively.”
The flight to safer investments led to a rally in Treasuries, with 10-year U.S. bond yields falling 13 basis points to 1.86%. Risk indices for European loans rose sharply: iTraxx Europe, which measures the risk associated with investment grade loans in Europe, rose to its highest level since May 2020. The dollar and yen jumped, while the euro fell slightly.
In his address to the Russians, Putin said that the purpose of the operation is “to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” Ukraine and its Western allies deny allegations that they have targeted civilians in breakaway regions, and no international organization has backed Russia’s “genocide” claim.
“Demilitarization and denazification”
“To do this, we will strive to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation,” Putin said. “At the same time, our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories “.
Russia has been accusing the government in Kiev of supporting Nazi ideas for years. Ukraine and its allies deny these accusations.
Although NATO leaders say Russia has no veto power over countries joining NATO, the alliance has long been at odds over admitting Ukraine. The Biden administration has repeatedly said it will not send U.S. military or NATO forces to Ukraine, preferring instead to shore up NATO allies elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
On Wednesday, February 23, the Kremlin reported that the leaders of the separatist republics have asked Putin for help in their confrontation with Ukrainian forces. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People‘s Republics have asked for help in accordance with the agreements that Putin signed with their leaders on Monday, February 21.
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