Russia Is Invading Ukraine: Here's What We Know

Russia Is Invading Ukraine: Here's What We Know

Russia has invaded Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation early morning on February 24. Around 5 AM, a series of missile attacks were reported around the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. Since then, the United Nations has imposed swift sanctions to hopefully contain the invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Russia.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been evident for months. Back in November, satellite imagery revealed that there was a buildup of Russian troops by the Ukrainian border. At the time, Kyiv reported that there were 100,000 soldiers mobilized by Moscow. And then the following month, President Joe Biden warned Russia of potential sanctions if it were to invade Ukraine.

In January, US and Russian officials met in Geneva for diplomatic talks involving security demands from Moscow that Washington wasn’t willing to accept. Then after further tension, at the beginning of February, Putin denied planning an invasion and also accused the United States of ignoring the security demands of Russia.

On February 12, during a video conference, Biden told Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would cause "widespread human suffering,” while Putin complained that the US and NATO were not responding to Russian demands that Ukraine be prohibited from joining the alliance and that forces from NATO be pulled back from Eastern Europe.

After days of build-up of Russian troops at Ukrainian borders, the invasion has commenced. Here's what we know so far.

Putin threatens with apparent nuclear retaliation

During a televised public address just before the explosions across cities in Ukraine began this morning, Putin issued a threat to any countries that want to interfere with what he’s doing — seemingly suggesting nuclear consequences. "Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history,” he said.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promises extreme sanctions

Ursula von der Leyen made a promise to "weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernize" after the attack against Ukraine. "These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin’s interests and their ability to finance war," she said. "And we know that millions of Russians do not want war."

NATO announces deployment of more land and air forces

NATO has revealed that it is increasing land, sea and air forces on the eastern flank after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The organization released a statement, saying, "Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and they will have geo-strategic consequences. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defense of all Allies.”

China sends aircrafts to Taiwan’s airspace, won’t criticize Russia

With so many countries being vocal in standing against Russia for its move on Ukraine, one country that has refused to is China. In a news conference, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said when asked, instead, "The U.S. has been fueling the flame, fanning up the flame, how do they want to put out the fire?"

One reason that many believe China to potentially be standing with Russia is due to the fact, similar to Russia’s relationship with Ukraine, it has its sights on Taiwan. Speaking of which, nine Chinese aircrafts entered into the island nation’s air defense zone today, prompting the country to raise its alert level.

Celebrities everywhere are speaking out about the growing crisis

In recent hours and days, celebrities everywhere have begun to speak out about what’s going on. Cardi B, when asked on Twitter, wrote, "Wish these world leaders stop tripping about power and really think about whose really getting affected (citizens) besides the whole world is in a crisis. War,sanctions,invasions should be the last thing these leaders should worry about."

Comedian Kathy Griffin took a slightly different approach, taking a jab at Trump — who’s made it very clear that he’s all for Putin — without really saying his name. “Are you guys paying attention?” she wrote. “I’m grateful Biden is president.”

The legendary Cher’s tweet was perhaps the most explanatory, with her attempting to get to the bottom of why this is happening right now. “Why Ukraine’s Important 2 [USA]. Putin’s despot, trump Hero,& If Given Chance Putin Will Devour Sovereign Countries, Till He Resurrects USSR. This Will Leave Europe, Small & unprotected. Russia, China, Saudis Want 2 Bring [USA] 2 Its Knees,& C Perfect opportunity. They C Hate, Division, Weakness.,” she wrote.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Photo via Getty