Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will conduct “a special military operation” to “demilitarize” Ukraine, de facto declaring a war on Ukraine.
In a televized announcement that aired just before 5 a.m. Kyiv time, Putin said that NATO was threatening the existence of Russia and that to protect it, he is sending Russian military into Ukraine.
The declaration comes days after Russia recognized its enclaves in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast as independent states on Feb. 21. Russia has been occupying territories in eastern Ukraine and the peninsula of Crimea since 2014.
Following the “recognition,” the Kremlin-installed leaders of the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine requested that Russia provides military protection from the supposed attack of the Ukrainian army, of which there has been no evidence.
Responding to their address, Putin announced the beginning of the “special military operation.