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Russian invasion of Ukraine has started

The latest updates from multiple news agencies on the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

Darkest hours for Europe since World War Two’

* EU leaders will discuss “a package of massive, targeted sanctions” that will target Russian banks, among other steps, Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, told reporters. “We will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to technologies and markets that are key for Russia,” Von der Leyen said. “We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernise.”

* Beijing refused to condemn the attack and repeated criticism that the United States was to blame for “hyping” the prospect of war in Eastern Europe. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China and Russia were strategic partners, and trade would continue as normal.

* Russia subdued Ukrainian air defences and knocked out the country’s military airbases, the Russian agency Interfax claimed, citing the Defence Ministry. The military said Ukrainian border guards were not putting up resistance to Russian forces, according to Interfax.

* At least eight people have been killed and nine wounded by Russian shelling, an advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs said.

* Russian military columns have crossed Ukrainian border into Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, Ukraine’s border guard said.

* Ukraine military says Ukrainian air defence shot down a Russian plane in eastern Ukraine – Reuters.

* Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia attacking his country’s “military infrastructure” and border guards, urges citizens not to panic and vows victory – AFP.

* Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk have launched large-scale strikes against Ukrainian forces along the line of contact, Russia’s Interfax news agency cited a separatist spokesman as saying.

* Russia is targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure, air defence, and air forces with high-precision weapons and is not attacking Ukrainian cities, Russia’s RIA news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying.

* Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Putin has “launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine” and cities are under airstrikes.

* Ukrainian military command centres in the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv have reportedly been attacked by missile strikes.

* US President Biden says “the world will hold Russia accountable”.

* Unconfirmed reports of Russian airborne force attempting to take control of Kyiv airport and occupy the Ukraine capital, amphibious assault on key port city Mariupol, ground forces moving in from Belarus, Crimea and Russia.

* Ukrainian military command centres in the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv attacked by missile strikes, the Ukrainska Pravda news website cites a Ukrainian interior ministry official as saying.

* Putin says Russia will carry out special military operation in Donbass.

* Putin says in case of foreign intervention Russia will react immediately.

* Putin calls on Ukrainian soldiers to immediately lay down their weapons and go home.

* Putin says, “We do not plan to occupy Ukrainian territory”. 

* US envoy tells UN Security Council, “We believe, along with Ukraine, that a full-scale, further invasion into Ukraine by Russia is imminent”.

* Putin says further Nato expansion and its use of Ukraine’s territory is unacceptable.

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