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Russian military invades Ukraine, explosions heard in eastern region

Ukrainian+soldiers+ride+on+top+of+an+armored+fighting+vehicle.
Photo by Photo by Taras Gren

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of an armored fighting vehicle.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a Feb. 24 national broadcast in local time, a military operation in the Donbas region of Ukraine, containing two “pro-Moscow” republics.
According to CNN, Putin’s national address was to encourage the Ukrainian military to stand down, as to prevent casualties, though he specified that his plans “are not to occupy Ukraine.”
Early Thursday morning in Ukraine, explosions were reported in Kyiv and Kharkiv, according to CNBC. This comes after weeks of Russian military presence nearing the Ukrainian border, with troops numbering over 190,000.
While there was no official declaration of war, Western officials received intelligence Wednesday suggesting there may soon be an attack in Donbas, and the Russian invasion into Ukraine has now officially begun.
Upon hearing the news of the Russian plan to move into the eastern region, as well as the news of the explosions, President Joe Biden heavily criticized Putin and the Russian military, according to a CNN report.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said. “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.”
On Thursday morning, Biden officially announce sanctions on Russia, following a day full of explosion reports, mostly around airports and sea ports. Among the sanctions are Russian elites, exports to the country, but not Putin, according to NPR.
Biden also announced the current plans for the U.S. military in coordination with NATO, with no American troops deployed directly to Ukraine.
“I’m authorizing additional U.S. force capabilities to deploy to Germany as part of NATO’s response, including some of the U.S.-based forces that the Department of Defense placed on standby weeks ago,” Biden said in NPR report.
Along with political actions, protesters have been gathering in major cities in Russia, mainly St. Petersburg, criticizing Putin’s invasion in person and on social media.
Live updates on the situation in Ukraine can be found here throughout the night. 
Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

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