LIVE: Russian invasion of Ukraine

Photo: Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images

Early in the morning, Russian forces entered the Ukrainian soil and begun the invasion of the country. Follow the live updates of the situation in Ukraine.

23:52 CET

The largest Polish NGO's involved in granting aid, including the Polish Medical Mission, the Polish Center for International Aid and the Polish Humanitarian Organization have started collecting money to help Ukraine. First of all, they want to buy the most necessary articles for people living in zones where fighting intensifies.

23:43 CET

EU leaders agreed on Thursday evening that they will impose new sanctions on the Russian financial, energy and transport sectors and introduce export controls. In addition, they will add more Russian citizens to the sanctions blacklist.

23:29 CET

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree on the general mobilisation of the population in the wake of Russia's invasion.

23:11 CET

According to Jack Detsch, a Foreign Policy's Pentagon and national security reporter, Russia is amassing its forces at the training ground in Brest, near the Polish and the Ukrainian border.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Polish FM Zbigniew Rau strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a flagrant violation of international law.

22:50 CET

22:48 CET

American ABC News TV presents report from Przemyśl, south-eastern Poland, one of the first larger towns that Ukrainians can enter after crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border.

22:44 CET

NEXTA shows a recording of barrage fire from Russian rocket system GRAD.

22:35 CET

22:33 CET

Russian forces are making advances on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and Moscow has continued to flow forces into the country, a senior US defence official told Reuters on Thursday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that so far Russia had fired more than 160 missiles at Ukrainian targets.

22:24 CET

Cutting off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payment system should not be part of the second EU sanctions package against Russia that EU leaders will decide upon at a meeting on Thursday in Brussels, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

22:20 CET

French President Emmanuel Macron demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately cease military operations in Ukraine in a phone call on Thursday that came after consulting with the Ukrainian leader, the Élysée palace said.

Macron told Putin just before entering an EU summit he exposed himself to “massive sanctions”, Paris reported.

21:34 CET

Polish cable TV operators have to shut down Russian channels on their platforms after the National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) decided to remove them from the Polish register. In the offer of UPC, one of the most popular operators in Poland, Moscow’s state-controlled RT (earlier called Russia Today, one of the most iconic sources of Russian propaganda) was replaced by TVP World.

KRRiT removed a total of five channels so far: RT (Russia Today), RT Documentary, RTR Planeta, Sojuz TV, Rossija 24.

20:34 CET

Polish President Andrzej Duda addressed Poles on Thursday evening. He said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a “turning point” for the Western community.

“We have to react hard, we need very severe sanctions, which will hit all areas of functioning of the Russian aggressor,” the president said.

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19:48 CET

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19:40 CET

Thousands of people also gather in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

19:08 CET

Between 3,000 and 5,000 people are estimated to participate in an anti-war protest that has started around 5 pm CET in Warsaw in front of the Russian Embassy. The participants express their solidarity with the Ukrainian nation.

The protest began with singing the national anthem of Ukraine, the participant chant slogans such as “Ukraine is a free country,” “Nothing will break us,” “Putin - a terrorist”.

Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora addressed the protesters.
Protest in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

18:54 CET

18:35 CET

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been captured by Russian forces, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Thursday.

“It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” he said.

“This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today,” Mr Podolyak said.

18:22 CET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a package of “severe” sanctions against Russia on Thursday, targeting banks, members of President Vladimir Putin’s closest circle and the extremely wealthy who enjoy high-rolling London lifestyles.

Western nations are coordinating action to impose tough sanctions against Russia in response to its all-out invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, where Moscow staged missile strikes on cities and poured its troops into the country.

Speaking to parliament, PM Johnson said Putin would be condemned by the world and by history for his invasion, never able to cleanse the “blood of Ukraine” from his hands.

“This hideous of the barbarous venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure,” he told parliament when announcing the new sanctions.

The government said it would impose an asset freeze on some major Russian banks, including state-owned VTB, its second-biggest bank, and stop major Russian companies from raising finance in Britain.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago, London’s capital markets have been the favoured destination for Russian companies seeking to raise money outside Moscow.

17:48 CET

The Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin opted for a cautious diplomatic language when commenting on Russia’s ruthless attack on Ukraine that commenced on Thursday, expressing his hope that those who hold the destiny of the world in their hands would have a “glimmer of conscience”.

17:43 CET

Polish PM attends the extraordinary EU summit.

17:38 CET

The Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations strongly condemned on Thursday Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said they would bring forward severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions against Moscow.

“This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based international order, with ramifications well beyond Europe,” the G7 leaders said in a joint statement, adding Russian President Vladimir Putin had re-introduced war to the European continent.

“He has put himself on the wrong side of history,” said the leaders in the statement released by Germany.

The leaders also said they supported consistent and constructive engagement and coordination among major energy producers and consumers towards stable global energy supplies and were ready to act to address potential disruption.

17:09 CET

People in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, gather to express their protest against the Russian invasion.

16:46 CET

“We clearly declare that we do not consider an away game in Russia. We have to take care of the security of our players and the whole staff,” Cezary Kulesza, the head of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) told the Polish public broadcaster TVP.

The Polish, Czech and Swedish football associations have issued a joint statement.

16:42 CET

Ukrainian President addressed Russian people and European leaders.

16:39 CET

All United Nations staff in Ukraine are safe and some are being relocated, but a core group remains in the country’s east, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Thursday. There are around 1,500 UN staff in Ukraine, Mr Dujarric said.

16:33 CET

Ukrainian President confirms that Russians try to seize the area of Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.

16:30 CET

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv ordered a curfew on Thursday in comments shown on television after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

16:00 CET

The announced American sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG company, the owner of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline include a ban on all transactions with it from March 2, the document published by the US Treasury Department reads.

15:55 CET

Polish FM called the Russian invasion “a crime against humanity.”

15:46 CET

Latvia will stop issuing visas to Russian nationals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs tweeted on Thursday.

The Baltic country has also decided to bring its ambassador to Moscow back to Riga for consultations, Minister Rinkēvičs wrote.

15:41 CET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Western “inaction or underreaction” in response to Russia invading Ukraine would have unthinkable consequences, a spokeswoman for his office said on Thursday.

PM Johnson held calls with Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Germany’s Chancellor Scholz to discuss sanctions after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in a mass assault by land, sea and air.

“Prime Minister [Johnson] underscored that western inaction or underreaction would have unthinkable consequences. The leaders agreed to stay in close contact and to discuss the response further in this afternoon’s meeting of G7 leaders,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said in a statement.

15:39 CET

Russian forces have entered the exclusion zone of Chernobyl nuclear plant, Ukrainian Interior Ministry reports.

15:26 CET

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday told other countries to impose tough sanctions on Russia immediately and to provide Ukraine with military and financial support.

15:21 CET

15:13 CET

At 8 pm CET, the Polish President Andrzej Duda will address his compatriots, his office announced on social media.

15:12 CET

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that his country supports Ukraine’s fight for its territorial integrity.

“We see this step [Russian invasion of Ukraine] as a violation of the international law and major blow on the peace and stability of the region,” the President said in a broadcast address.

The Turkish head of the state added that he spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and confirmed his support for Ukraine’s struggle for its territorial integrity.

14:52 CET

The US President Joe Biden convenes a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine.

14:44 CET

Russia’s defence ministry said it had destroyed 74 above-ground military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine on Thursday, including 11 aerodromes, the RIA news agency reported.

14:37 CET

The Ukrainian Military reports four ballistic missiles fired from the territory of Belarus in the south-west direction.

14:34 CET

“The enemy’s plan to break us did not work. Ukraine is fighting and doing it successfully,” Oleksii Reznikov, Ukrainian Defence Minister, stressed.

14:19 CET

The Czech Republic will close two Russian consulates in Brno, the country’s second largest city, and Karlovy Vary and also shut its consulates in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg in Russia, the country’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced.

He added that the government would also call home its ambassadors to Russia and Belarus for consultations.

14:00 CET

Russian Railways reported it had stopped sending cargo to all destinations in Ukraine from February 24.

14:00 CET

Marina Litvinovich, a Russian opposition activist who called for anti-war protests after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine told the Reuters agency that she had been detained by police.

“I was detained on my way out of the house,” she wrote on Telegram.

13:44 CET

Two fighter jets flying over the vicinity of Kyiv.

13:33 CET

Iran’s national airliner is ready to send special flights to Ukraine for evacuating nationals, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported.

13:30 CET

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported it had recalled its charge d’affaires in Russia for consultations and began evacuating its embassy in Moscow.

13:11 CET

Ukrainian State Emergency Service says Ukrainian military plane was downed, 5 people killed.

13:04 CET

Ukrainian Ministry of Defence reports that the Russians launched over 30 Kaliber cruise missiles today.

12:55 CET

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported that the alliance will deploy capabilities and forces on its territory after Russia invaded Ukraine, saying it put over 100 warplanes on high alert.

12:48 CET

Russian helicopters attacked Gostomel, a military airport near the capital of Kyiv, and Ukraine downed three of them, Ukrainian officials reported. Ukrainian border officials said that the Russian military was trying to penetrate into Ukraine’s Kyiv region and its Zhytomyr region on the Belarusian border and was using Grad rocket systems.

12:24 CET

According to the Ukrainian Border Guard, Russia has launched a ground attack on Ukraine from the territory of Belarus.

12:21 CET

Black smoke was seen rising over the Ukrainian defence ministry intelligence headquarters in central Kyiv, although the building appeared to be intact, a Reuters correspondent reported.

12:07 CET

At least six people were killed in Ukraine’s town of Brovary, located near the capital of Kyiv, the city’s authorities reported.

11:57 CET

At least 18 people died in Odessa in a Russian missile attack, according to the local authorities.

11:38 CET

“Warfare is a direct threat to the lives of 7.5 million children in Ukraine,” UNICEF warns.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged all the ongoing conflict sides to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilians and essential services such as water and power supplies.

11:29 CET

NATO issues a statement on Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

11:29 CET

Lithuania begins consultations on the triggering of Article 4 of the NATO treaty.

“The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened,” the article reads.

11:26 CET

The Reuters agency reports a powerful explosion in Kyiv as a result of a Russian cruise missile strike on Brovary, the city’s suburb.

11:12 CET

Lithuania introduces a state of emergency.

11:10 CET

A boy was killed in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region after shelling struck an apartment building, emergency services reported.

10:56 CET

“Germany will offer support to countries in eastern Europe, especially Poland, facing an influx of refugees from the conflict in Ukraine,” the country’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser declared.

10:35 CET

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy calls on all citizens who are ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

10:43 CET

Ukraine breaks diplomatic relations with Russia.

10:35 CET

According to the RIA news agency, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka proposed that Russia and Ukraine hold talks in Minsk.

As the Belta news agency added, he said that Belarusian troops could take part in Russia’s military operation “if needed.”

10:30 CET

A Russian military convoy in annexed Crimea with the letter “Z” painted on the sides of vehicles was seen driving north towards mainland Ukraine.

10:23 CET

“Finland is prepared to receive refugees from Ukraine,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said as she strongly condemned Russia’s military action.

10:16 CET

“We stand with Ukraine as its neighbours, as the North Atlantic Alliance, as the EU. We hope that the Russian aggression will be stopped,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said.

10:13 CET

“The Lithuanian parliament will decide whether to declare a state of emergency,” Gitanas Nausėda, the President of Lithuania, announced.

09:56 CET

The Ukrainian Army says they killed around 50 Russian troops, shot down 6 aircraft in eastern Ukraine. Reportedly, 4 Russian tanks in the vicinity of Kharkiv were also destroyed.

09:49 CET

According to the Ukrainian Defence Minister, the country has gone into full ‘defence mode’

09:45 CET

“In the coming hours, Poland will open eight reception centres for Ukrainian refugees at the Polish-Ukrainian border - in the Lubelskie and Podkarpackie provinces, south-eastern part of the country,” Paweł Szefernaker, Poland’s deputy Interior Minister, announced.

09:43 CET

Ukraine closes one of its five border crossings with Belarus.

Meanwhile, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka says that his country's armed forces are not taking part in Russia's military operation.

09:28 CET

Moldovan president Maia Sandu said the country would introduce a state of emergency and is ready to accept tens of thousands of people coming in from neighbouring Ukraine.

“We will help people who need our help and support,” she said.

According to Moldovan media websites, dozens of cars are queuing on the border between Ukraine and the country.

09:19 CET

Russian checkpoint in the Kharkiv area.

09:18 CET

“Ukrainian armed forces are fighting hard in the face of a massive Russian artillery bombardment of infrastructure facilities,” an adviser to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported.

09:10 CET

“These are the darkest hours for Europe since WWII. This is not only a violation of international law, but also a violation of the fundamental principles of human coexistence,” Josep Borrell, the head of EU diplomacy, said.

As he added, the sanctions to be imposed on Russia “will be the harshest the EU has ever imposed in its history.”

09:03 CET

Russian troops hoisting a flag on a public building in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

09:03 CET

“New gas contracts with Russia are inconceivable,” the chair of Germany’s Foreign Affairs Committee told broadcaster RTL/ntv.

As Michael Roth, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, said, he can no longer imagine deepening economic relations with Russia.

“That has failed. In the end, we have to work faster than planned to make ourselves less dependent on an authoritarian regime,” he said.

09:00 CET

Ukrainian citizens are seen fleeing Kyiv.

08:53 CET

As reported by Germany, the country’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and assured him of German solidarity.

08:49 CET

“The European Union stands with Ukraine and its people,” Ursula von der Leyen stressed.

“Ukraine will prevail,” she added.

08:46 CET

As reported by the Interfax agency, a Russian-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said their main objective was to regain control of all the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk where their breakaway territories are located.

08:44 CET

“Later today we will present a package of massive, targeted sanctions,” Ursula von der Leyen, the Head of the European Commission, announced.

08:30 CET

Statement of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

08:27 CET

According to an advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, at least eight people have been killed and nine were wounded by the Russian shelling.

The border guard said separately Russian military columns have crossed the Ukrainian border into Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions.

08:20 CET

Ukrainian authorities reported that Russia was moving military equipment into the country from the annexed Crimea peninsula and shelling across the country all the way to western Ukraine’s Lviv region. One of the country’s officials said that one person had been killed and another injured by shelling in the Kyiv region.

08:00 CET

“Cyberattack on Ukraine’s digital infrastructure is underway,” Mykhailo Fedorov, the country’s deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, reported.

“We have been defending cyberspace all night. Attacks on all the basic information resources have been happening and are still ongoing. So far, the situation is stable. All teams are in place. Stay calm and do not panic,” he wrote on Telegram.

7:50 CET

As reported by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, two Russian tanks and several military vehicles were destroyed near the city of Shchastya in the Luhansk oblast.

Earlier, the Ukrainian military operating in the region reported shooting down five Russian planes and one helicopter.

07:30 CET

“We announce the general evacuation of the inhabitants of the Luhansk region. We recommend that its inhabitants leave immediately,” Serhiy Gajad, head of the Luhansk regional state administration, wrote on social media.

He indicated that the inhabitants of the oblast should head towards the city of Dnieper.

“People who are not able to evacuate themselves should go to the indicated railway stations, from where they will be picked up,” he added.

07:20 CET

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau condemns the Russian military action.

07:10 CET

“The information about the paratroopers of the Russian troops in Odessa is not true. Ukraine's air force is resisting an air attack. The military is on full combat readiness. We maintain a defensive position. The situation is under control,” The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on social media.

07:00 CET

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday that “war is the worst-case scenario,” hours after Russia attacked neighbouring Ukraine.

“The task now, just as always, is to guarantee the security of Hungarian people,” the minister said on his official Facebook page.

“Our embassy in Kyiv is operating, and ready to help Hungarians who are in Ukraine right now.”

06:50 CET

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and discussed the alliance’s coordinated response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the State Department reported.

They also discussed further steps to ensure the security of NATO’s Eastern flank, and Mr Blinken stressed that the US commitment to NATO’s Article 5 collective defence principle is “ironclad”, the department said.

06:41 CET

The Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki called on for immediate response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

06:35 CET

The Ukrainian Border Service announced that Ukraine was attacked from the territories of both Russia and Belarus. They report that the assault also comes from the annexed Crimean penisnula.

06:33 CET

The Polish consulate in Odessa is being evacuated, the spokesman of the Polish MFA Łukasz Jasina told the Polish Press Agency.

“We remain in touch with our diplomatic facilities,” he stressed.

06:23 CET

06:21 CET

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “this is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe”.

06:17 CET

“Despite the efforts of the international community, Ukraine became a victim of a brutal, unprovoked and unjustified Russian assault. We cooperate with our NATO and EU allies and together we will respond to the brutal Russian aggression. We will not leave Ukraine without support,” declared the Polish President Andrzej Duda.

06:07 CET

Air raid sirens are going off in Kyiv during live broadcasts from the Ukrainian capital.

06:06 CET

Russian-backed separatists said on Thursday they had launched an offensive on the Ukrainian-controlled town of Shchastia in the Luhansk province, Russia’s Interfax news agency said.

06:03 CET

The Ukrainian FM calls the global community to act immediately.

06:00 CET

British PM Boris Johnson said that he has spoken with the Ukrainian president.

05:58 CET

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

05:51 CET

The martial law will be imposed in all territories of Ukraine, President Zelensky announced.

He added that explosions were heard all over the country. The president called his compatriots to stay home as much as possible.

05:47 CET

The conversation between Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky, presidents of the US and Ukraine now takes place, Reuters quotes a White House official.

05:42 CET

“The incursion has begun,” Anton Herashchenko of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine said. He added that missile attacks on military warehouses, HQs and airports are ongoing. “There is also artillery shelling of the border,” he added.

05:40 CET

05:36 CET

Reuters reports that Ukraine closes its airspace for civil aircraft.

05:30 CET

Russian military forces attack objects all over Ukraine, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports.

The Kyiv correspondent of the Polish Press Agency (PAP) said that she heard explosion explosions in the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital. Media report about explosions in the cities of Odessa and Kharkiv.

Moreover, there are reports of the naval landing operation in Odessa and the city of Mariupol.

The Boryspil airport was evacuated. There were reports about shots fired nearby.

05:21 CET

Ukraine to impose the martial law, local media report.

05:18 CET

Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and is targeting cities with weapons strikes, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet on Thursday.

05:12 CET

Reuters reports that Ukrainian military command centres in the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv have been attacked by missile strikes, the “Ukrainska Pravda” news website cited a Ukrainian interior ministry official as saying on Thursday. Reuters witnesses in Kyiv heard a series of explosions shortly after Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine.

05:10 CET

US President says that the world will hold Russia accountable for the invasion.

05:06 CET

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

04:27 CET

“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,” US President Joe Biden wrote in a statement published on the webiste of the White House.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorised troops to carry out a special military operation in the Donbas region of Ukraine, Russian news agencies said on Thursday morning.