Explosions rocked major cities in Ukraine as Russia attacked the country in the predawn hours of Thursday.
The capital Kyiv has been struck with “cruise and ballistic missile strikes,” according to Ukrainian officials. Blasts were heard in the city shortly after
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the beginning of a military operation in Ukraine. Civilian buildings were reportedly damaged, with home doors blasted shut from the impact of the explosions.
EarthCam footage captured what appeared to be a blast in the Ukrainian capital Thursday morning.
Some panicked residents in Kyiv tried to flee the city after hearing the blasts. Long lines formed at supermarkets and ATMs, and roads were packed with cars seeking to leave the capital.
“I looked through the window and saw the people with bags. Some of them were running,” Yaroslava Antipina, a mother who lives in the capital with her son, told VICE World News.
Antipina herself went to the supermarket a couple of hours after the explosion to buy an entire week’s worth of food.
“We bought bread, water, meat, and a lot of snacks,” she said. Everyone was smiling and keeping calm in the grocery store as they prepared for the uncertain days ahead, she said.
Air-raid sirens blared over the city and some residents took shelter in underground metro stations.
Saad Ansari, an international student from India located in Ivano-Frankivsk, in western Ukraine, said the bombings left him and his classmates distraught.
“Every person in my class was already awake and panicked. We are worried,” he told VICE World News.
Video footage appears to show a cruise missile strike at the Ivano-Frankivsk International airport on Thursday morning. Explosions were also heard around the capital airport, where planes have been hit, according to the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian air space has been closed to commercial flights. The news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported staff and passengers evacuating Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared martial law throughout Ukraine and urged citizens to stay at home.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said missiles also struck the cities of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and Dnipro in eastern Ukraine. Journalists in Kharkiv have reported hearing large booms, as smoke rose above the skyline.
The Ukrainian government said it was under attack by Russian troops from both Russia and Belarus, Ukraine’s northern neighbor where Russia had amassed troops in recent weeks. CNN broadcast a video showing tanks crossing into Ukraine from Belarus.
Near separatist-controlled areas in the east, explosions and artillery firing were heard in the city Kramatorsk.
Airstrikes have also been reported from Lutsk, less than 100 kilometers from the Ukraine-Poland border.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for allies to impose further sanctions and intensify efforts to isolate Russia. He also requested arms and financial aid in a post on Twitter.
U.S. President Biden has condemned Putin’s actions and vowed to “hold Russia accountable,” calling the military operation a “premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
Putin claimed he was not seeking to occupy Ukraine but to “demilitarize” the country. He warned foreign powers of consequences they “have never experienced” should they intervene.